Russia to increase ractopamine restrictions on Canada

Russia is set to further restrict Canadian meat imports over the feed additive ractopamine.

Since the measures first were announced in December, Canada still had been able to export small amounts of meat that was free of ractopamine to Russia. However, the new restrictions could severely impact meat exports to Russia, including about $15 million annually in cattle, according to the Globe and Mail.

In February, Russia enacted import restrictions on U.S. beef, pork and turkey over concerns they may contain ractopamine, a feed additive that promotes lean muscle growth. Additionally, companies that export pork from the U.S. to China also must provide documentation certifying their products are free of ractopamine, a rule that took effect March 1.

Ractopamine is approved for use within specific limits in some countries, including the U.S. Other nations, such as Russia, China and those in the European Union, have banned its use. There are no approved uses for ractopamine in humans.

Today, Russia’s food safety and phytosanitary agency Rosselkhoznadzor announced revisions to the list of Canadian processing plants permitted to export meat to Russia. Only 14 pork processing plants, three beef plants and one combined plant will be allowed to export provided they receive veterinary certificates from the Canadian Veterinary Service that they are free of ractopamine, according to a statement from Rosselkhoznador.

Russian officials also told Canadian officials they “would carefully consider the proposals from Canada concerning the improvement of the system of separate production of ractopamine-free meat products for export to the (Customs Union, or CU) countries.” Inspection of plants interested in exporting meat to CU countries could occur in May or June, the statement read.

The CU is made up of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus and provides harmonized sanitary and phytosanitary rules.

Last month, Russia requested additional information on U.S. ractopamine monitoring programs, including descriptions on sensitivity, limit of detection and frequency of study.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a maximum residue limit (MRL) for ractopamine at 30 parts per billion (ppb) for beef and 50 ppb for pork. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, which creates international food standards and guidelines, set maximum residue limits for ractopamine at 10 ppb for beef and pork.

For more on ractopamine from Neogen’s blog, click here.

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