Endorsement to continue despite warning
Sir Bob Charles' endorsement of deer velvet products will continue despite clear anti-doping warnings from Drug Free Sport New Zealand and the World Anti-Doping Agency, says supplement company boss Ian Carline.
Yesterday DFSNZ issued a statement warning athletes be "extremely careful" of deer velvet supplements following doubts over their doping risks.
Chief executive Graeme Steel said no safety guarantees can be made to athletes using the products and those that test positive risk prosecution.
DFSNZ confirmed deer velvet products "can contain Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1), which is prohibited in sport both in and out-of -competition."
"Athletes who return a positive test will be prosecuted by DFSNZ and are unlikely to be able to fall back on any lack of fault provision given the warnings which have been issued," the statement continued.
WADA have also made their cautionary position clear, saying: "There is no absolute guarantee in the scientific literature that IGF-1 taken orally will not influence the plasma level of IGF-1, which may then influence the result of anti-doping tests."
But Carline says that won't impact his company, Silberhorn, or Charles' endorsement.
"Of course it will [continue]. I've spoken with Sir Bob," Carline told Fairfax Media.
"My response to that is we have a number of athletes who are regularly drug tested and they take our product as recommended. They have never, ever had a problem.
"They have declared the product before they compete and when they are tested and there has never been a problem."
But that isn't enough for doping experts.
Steel says while DFSNZ accepts IGF-1 is naturally occurring at very low levels in meat and dairy products, that rationale should not to be confused with supplements.
"It is accepted that IGF-1 occurs naturally at very low "trace" levels in deer velvet as it does in some foodstuffs including milk products," Steel said in a DFSNZ statement.
"Athletes generally need not be concerned that trace levels of prohibited substances, which may be found in normal foodstuffs, will result in positive tests.
"When athletes take supplements, there is potential for prohibited substances to occur at higher than natural trace levels due to manufacturing processes.
"DFSNZ has no ability to assess the true level of any component contained within a supplement or how that substance may be metabolised. Consequently it must alert athletes to the presence of prohibited substances irrespective of levels.
"DFSNZ will continue to monitor this matter but, having considered the information currently available, has determined that intervention related to possible historical use of oral forms of deer velvet is not warranted at this time.
This statement is made by DFSNZ to athletes who are subject to the Sports Anti-Doping Rules. DFSNZ makes no comment about the appropriateness of these products for use by the general public who are not bound by the sports anti-doping rules."
Carline also rejected any ethical problems associated with athletes taking a product they know contains a banned substance on the grounds it is unlikely to see them fail a drug test.