Russia might ban imports of refrigerated meat from U.S. Feb 4

Russia might ban imports of refrigerated meat from the United States effective Feb. 4, according to a letter Federal Veterinary and Phyto-Sanitary Oversight Service head Sergei Dankvert sent to Ronald Jones, the assistant administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Agriculture Department.

The letter, seen by Interfax, states that despite Russia's repeated requests for information on measures being taken by the United States to prevent shipments to Russia of meat that was produced using the feed additive ractopamine, the Russian regulator has still not received any.

Neither have guarantees been provided that animal products (pork, beef, pork and beef meat products) shipped to Russia from the U.S. do not have residual amounts of this substance. Such products continue to be imported, which is inconsistent with the requirements of the Customs Union and Russia, the letter states.

The Russian food safety watchdog is particularly concerned about imports of refrigerated meat products, since "pork and beef go directly to retail chains without intermediary storage until the results of laboratory tests for ractopamine content are received," the letter states.

"The failure to resolve these issues will unfortunately lead to the necessity of imposing temporary restrictions on shipments of these products into the Russian Federation effective February 4, 2013," Dankvert states in the letter.

Dankvert asked Jones to immediately provide guarantees that refrigerated beef and pork shipped to Russia from the U.S. does not contain ractopamine. The U.S. must also confirm prepared meat products exported to Russia are made using raw materials produced at U.S. enterprises that have the right to ship products to the Customs Union and Russia. They also cannot contain ractopamine.

The Russian regulator does not rule out that similar measures might be taken against refrigerated meat imports from Canada.

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