Russia might ban meat from Brazil produced using ractopamine

Russia might ban imports of meat from Brazil that is produced using ractopamine, a drug that is used as a feed additive to promote leanness in animals, and which is banned in Russia and the Customs Union.

This issue was reaised at a meeting with the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry's deputy secretary for international relations, Lino Colsera, the head of the Russian delegation of veterinary officials, Alexei Scheglov told Interfax by telephone from Brazil.

"We said that, despite current agreements in the veterinary and phytosanitary spheres that call for transparency in bilateral relations, Brazil does not notify us that it is using ractopamine in raising animals. Therefore, it is possible that potentially dangerous products could enter the territory of the Customs Union," Scheglov, who is the head of the Federal Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Oversight Service division for Bryansk and Smolensk regions, said.

Scheglov told the Brazilian officials that he will report on the situation to the head of Russia's animal health watchdog and recommend the suspension of shipments to Russia of animal products from all Brazilian farms that use ractopamine. "This is logical within the context of harmonizing our relations with the European Union, which has stopped imports of such products into its countries," he said.

Scheglov said the use of ractopamine in raising animals must be scientifically justified. "We did not receive such justification from our Brazilian colleagues," he said.

The representative of the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry said he will wait for official information in writing before implementing measures.

Scheglov also said that during the visit to Brazil the Russian veterinary officials certified enterprises and studied the operations of this country's veterinary service in terms of ensuring the safety of products exported to the Customs Union.

"We have some complaints, they concern systemic violations of a veterinary-sanitary nature. We were amazed, in particular, at the Brazilian specialists' lack of awareness, even at the level of the Agriculture Ministry's central administration, of the veterinary-sanitary standards in place for products shipped to countries in the Customs Union," Scheglov said.

The Russian specialists inspected 20 Brazilian enterprises that produce pork, beef, poultry and formula feed over a period of two weeks.

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