Readers Respond to the Search for a Beaverton Burrito Blamed for a Failed Drug Test

“My entire life could be described as a quest for a performance-enhancing burrito.”

Last December, Beaverton-based track star Shelby Houlihan’s Olympic dreams came to an sudden end when she tested positive for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid. Houlihan claims she’s never taken performance-enhancing drugs, and that the failed drug test was the result of a pig stomach burrito she ate from a Beaverton food cart. According to the World Anti-Doping Agency, pig organs can contain trace amounts of nandrolone—enough for the steroid to show up on drug tests. Houlihan hasn’t named the food cart that served the alleged burrito, so WW set out to find it (“Eating on the Run,” July 7, 2021). We found three food carts that fit Houlihan’s description, and taste-tested a burrito at each one. Here’s what our readers had to say:

Todd Morgan, via Facebook: “You have to now eat it and do a steroid test to see if it shows up. C’mon, reporter, you can’t have a headline like that without following through. If it shows up on yours, too, she may have a case.”

Jacob Samples, via Facebook: “In all seriousness, the Olympic committee needs to get their heads out of their elite asses and ease up on these situations/allow an appeals process. A burrito? Seriously!?”

JT, via “This whole story (the runner’s story, not the article) is such BS. I am a big fan of pig and cow innards in Mexican food, and there is no way that a person could mistake carne asada with buche. Apples and oranges.”

Pete Bunke, via Facebook: “Burritos are the new poppyseed muffins.”

Dubious, via “Finish the investigation—get five people to eat the burrito, get yourselves tested, and then write an update to the story.”

@trevinoraymond8, via Twitter: “As an Olympian, I’m surprised this is part of her diet. Did she like the burrito?”

Lea Belton, via Facebook: “No one gives a fuck about this burrito. The real question is when are we gonna stop disqualifying athletes based on bullshit like weed?”

Dan Anderson, via Facebook: “My entire life could be described as a quest for a performance-enhancing burrito.”


I appreciate your article warning us all about the dangers of HFCs [Dr. Know, WW, July 7, 2021]. However, as an individual who works in the HVAC industry, I take issue with some of your facts. The HVAC system is a closed loop; the only reason it emits refrigerant is if it develops a leak or someone tampers with it. You should tell the whole story before trying to convince people that these units just normally “emit” HFCs. Still, I would love it if we could find an excellent, non-environmentally degrading alternative to what we have.

Gary Stoltenburg

Dr. Know responds: You’re right that, under ideal conditions, the refrigerant stays in the system until it’s removed by a qualified technician. That said, in our less than ideal real world, fully 60% of HFC production is used to replace refrigerant that has either leaked away slowly or been rapidly vented into the great beyond by idiots like me, as I described in my column. It’s estimated that half of all HFCs ever produced have already been vented into the atmosphere, humanity’s best intentions notwithstanding.

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