Russia, Brazil to discuss meat imports

Due to the problems associated with imports to Russia of meat from countries that use ractopamine, specialists from Russia and Brazil are set to enter into consultations aimed at developing a mechanism to allow Brazilian companies onto the Russian market, Sergei Dankvert, the head of the Russian agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, told Interfax.

"We obtained an official letter from the Brazilian Agriculture Ministry saying that they are willing to implement our requirements for meat imports - and starting tomorrow specialists from both countries will discuss the technical aspect of this issue," he said.

The specialists will discuss what documents should accompany the imports.

An agreement on holding the consultations was reached at a meeting with Celio Porto, a secretary at the Agriculture Ministry (deputy minister rank) in Moscow on Wednesday.

Rosselkhoznadzor began on Dec. 7 to require documents with imports of meat from countries where ractopamine is used that confirm that the imports were produced without the use of ractopamine. This system will operate for a transitional period, the term ofr which will be determined later.

The Russian agriculture watchdog says that during that period the veterinary services in exporter countries should create a system of lab checks for products to ensure that ractopamine is absent and in future to attach to every consignment destined for the Russian market and other Customs Union countries with a lab report ensuring the lack of growth stimulants.

Rosselkhoznadzor says that ractopamine is most widely used in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Mexico. The United States has asked Russia to reconsider its rejection of imports of meat containing ractopamine.

The use of ractopamine is banned in 160 countries.

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