Almanack: The test of British

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MUCH hullabaloo about dope tests. Little knowledge of the nature of the testing kits themselves. Who makes them? How do you use them? How much do they cost?

The kits in use at the Commonwealth Games are made in Kent by a company called Versapak, which also bashes out high-security envelopes and mail-room equipment: a urine-sampling kit costs pounds 4.35 a go. It's difficult to describe how they work without using a Blue Peter-style 'here's-one-I-peed-in-earlier' example, but the key to effortless sampling is dexterity with the self- destructing labels and seals. 'The urine sample is placed in a plastic canister,' Jon Robinson, Versapak's marketing chief, explains. 'And once that canister is shut, the sample can't be tampered with.' What cunning. Our athletes may be cheating in droves, but at least they're being found out by a good old British product. Don't you feel proud?