(Reuters) - Mexico’s World Cup squad will not eat beef during their preparations for the Brazil tournament for fear of testing positive to banned drugs in contaminated meat, coach Miguel Herrera said on Wednesday.
Five players were withdrawn from Mexico’s CONCACAF Gold Cup squad in the United States in 2011 after testing positive for clenbuterol, a banned stimulant sometimes illicitly mixed into livestock feed to make meat leaner.
The five, including goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and defender Francisco Rodriguez who are in Hererra’s squad for the finals, were later absolved after the Mexican Football Federation and world soccer governing body FIFA considered the presence of clenbuterol in Mexican cattle a public health problem.
"Given what happened, we have decided we will not eat red meat,” Herrera told a news conference.
“Here there’s very good cooking, we have a spectacular chef and eat all kinds of meat, except beef.
“We’ve also been telling the players for the last month and a half not to eat beef and they’ve paid heed.
“(Miguel) Ponce ate some tacos without knowing he would be with us but beef goes through your system in three to four days, though we’re still taking preventive measures.”
Ponce joined the squad on Tuesday as a late replacement for fellow midfielder Juan Carlos Medina who has an ankle injury requiring surgery and was withdrawn from the squad.
Mexico, who face hosts Brazil, Cameroon and Croatia in Group A at the tournament starting on June 12, are in their second week of preparations and will play warm-up games against Israel, Ecuador, Bosnia and Portugal.
Herrera said he would play each of his three goalkeepers, Jesus Corona, Alfredo Talavera and Ochoa, in the first three friendlies to then decide who he would pick against Portugal and at the World Cup.