Russia finds unconvincing U.S. explanations on ractopamine - official

The U.S. assurances that meat containing ractopamine, a feed additive stimulating muscle growth, is safe look unconvincing to Russian experts, says Gennady Onishchenko, the chief public health official and the head of the Russian consumer protection watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

The veterinary oversight service Rosselkhoznadzor said earlier that it planned to ban imports of frozen meat and meat products from the U.S. starting February 11, as the U.S. veterinary authorities refuse to comply with Russia's ractopamine requirements.

"We, as a WTO member, have not received sufficient proof. The proof that has been presented does not satisfy us. It does not stand up to criticism in terms of the methodology and the time over which the drug's application was analyzed, and it does not answer the question regarding the drug's accumulation in a human body," Onishchenko told Interfax on Thursday.

Russia's position on ractopamine has been backed by two U.S. non-governmental organizations, i.e. the Center for Food Safety and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, he said.

"These two organizations have filed a civil petition with the FDA calling, in particular, for doing comprehensive research to assess the hazards caused to human health by the use of ractopamine in the cattle breeding industry and its effect on the environment," Onishchenko said.

The NGOs also called on the U.S. authorities to revise ractopamine standards, he said.

Onishchenko told Interfax on January 31 that the ban on meat imports from the U.S. because of noncompliance with ractopamine requirements would be long-term.

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