Russian ban on U.S. meat over ractopamine to begin in February

Russia has announced it will ban chilled and frozen U.S. meat imports after the U.S. did not move to certify its meat was free of the feed additive ractopamine.

The ban begins Feb. 4 for chilled meat and Feb. 11 for frozen meat, Meat and Poultry.com reports.

In December, Russia announced it would begin testing U.S. beef and pork for the additive. The move came soon after the U.S. Senate voted to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia.

At that time, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk  voiced their concern and asked for Russia to “suspend these new measures and restore market access for U.S. beef and pork products.

The U.S. exports roughly $500 million in beef and pork products to Russia annually, according to the New York Times.

Russia had requested the U.S., Canada, Brazil and Mexico take measures to ensure only ractopamine-free meat is exported to Russia. However, the U.S. is the only country of the four to not take action, according to the Russian agency Rosselkhoznadzor.

Canada has agreed to only issue veterinary certificates for ractopamine-free meat for export to Russia.

In addition to Russia, the European Union and China currently ban the use of ractopamine. Earlier this year, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which creates international food standards and guidelines, issued a ruling that set maximum residue limits for ractopamine (10 parts per billion, or ppb, for beef and pork). The Codex limit is lower than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s limit of 30 ppb for beef and 50 ppb for pork.

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