(Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee has expressed concern over potential integrity issues with new security bottles used in doping controls and urged the World Anti-Doping Agency to ensure testing procedures at next month's Winter Games are reliable.
WADA said on Sunday it had been informed by the accredited laboratory in Cologne, Germany, that security bottles introduced in September 2017 may potentially be susceptible to manual opening "upon freezing" of a sample.
WADA added that the manufacturer, Berlinger Special AG, had said they were unable to replicate the issue when the bottles were handled per the product's instructions.
The bottles are used to collect and store urine and/or blood samples when an athlete undergoes a doping control test.
"The IOC is very concerned about this issue," it said on its Twitter feed on Tuesday.
"From the moment we learned about it, we immediately turned to WADA and asked them to ensure that the anti-doping tests in Pyeongchang can be conducted in a credible and reliable way."
Bottle security became a major concern when officials learned athletes' analytical results were manipulated and samples swapped at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Russia was banned from next month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found evidence of an "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system that has led to a series of suspensions.
The Winter Games run from Feb. 9-25.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)