Russia to ban meat, products from U.S. over ractopamine Feb 11 - Rosselkhoznadzor

Russia's Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Oversight Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) plans to ban the import of frozen meat and meat products from the United States as of February 11 over the use of the beta stimulant ractopamine.

Ractopamine is used to stimulate muscle growth in livestock raised for their meat.

Imports of refrigerated meat will be prohibited for the same reason starting February 4.

"Since the violations continue and we are finding ractopamine in meat shipments from the USA, we plan starting February 11 to impose restrictions on the import of this product," Rosselkhoznadzor chief Sergei Dankvert told Interfax.

Despite multiple Rosselkhoznadzor requests, the United States has declined to meet Russian norms and standards regarding meat and meat products, Dankvert said. "So the restriction is a compelled measure," he said.

Dankvert said he plans to meet on Thursday with Russian meat market operators to discuss the situation and find a way to minimize business's losses resulting from the temporary restrictions.

Shipments may be redirected to other markets. "We will provide importers and meat-product producers with information concerning other markets where meat can go in Russia so they can be redirected," Dankvert said.

Meat market experts have more than once pointed out that the United States' non-fulfillment of Russia's requirements could lead to U.S. suppliers losing the Russian market.

Rosselkhoznadzor said Wednesday that Russian laboratory testing of U.S. meat product revealed yet another instance of the application of ractopamine in consignments of pork processed at enterprise #17D and beef liver from #235. This is a serious violation of Russian and Customs Union veterinary-sanitary requirements, the statement says. The use of ractopamine is prohibited in Russia.

Rosselkhoznadzor has notified the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service of this.

Earlier, Rosselkhoznadzor was also preparing to restrict deliveries of meat and meat product from Canada. However, this week the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced it would be seeing that Russia's ractopamine requirements were met. In particular, each consignment of pork and beef are to be accompanied by additional documentation certifying that the meat contains no ractopamine and that the product was obtained from livestock not fed the growth stimulant.

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