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Mexican World Cup players banned from eating beef; fear of beef contaminated with clenbuterol

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MEXICO CITY - Mexican World Cup players may be asking: Where's the beef?

The Mexican players are being banned from eating beef, a move aimed at avoiding positive doping tests from meat contaminated with the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol.

Coach Miguel Herrera said Wednesday he had told his players more than a month ago not to eat red meat.

During the 2011 Gold Cup, five Mexico players tested positive for clenbuterol, a muscle-building drug. The Mexican Football Federation eventually cleared the players of doping. The World Anti-Doping Agency accepted what it termed "compelling evidence" that meat in Mexico was contaminated with clenbuterol and produced the positive tests.

"Our training centre has determined, based on what happened in the past, that red meat shouldn't be eaten," Herrera said.

Mexican authorities have acknowledged that the drug, which is banned in the sports world, has been used in the country to fatten cattle.

Defender Miguel Ponce, who was left off the original 23-man team, said he had been eating some red meat. He was added to the team recently to replace injured midfielder Juan Carlos Medina.

"I ate a few tacos, but I hope there is no problem," Ponce said. "From now on I'll follow what's been requested."

Mexico plays its first match at the World Cup in Natal against Cameroon on June 13, faces Brazil on June 17 in Fortaleza in its most difficult game in Group A, and will then play Croatia on June 23 in Recife.

Brazil is the clear favourite to win the group and advance to the knockout stage. Second place in the group seems wide open.

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