AGRIBUSINESS: Russia Bans All US Meat Imports

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Russia is now prohibiting imports of all U.S. beef, pork, turkey and other meat products by requiring a zero tolerance for the presence of ractopamine.

Ractopamine - an additive for animal feed - is used in 27 countries and has been shown to be completely safe at levels established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, an arm of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization.

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk responded to Russia’s suspension of U.S. meat exports with disappointment. They note U.S. meat is produced to the highest safety standards in the world. They say Russia is disregarding the extensive and expert scientific studies conducted by Codex that have repeatedly concluded that animal feed containing the additive ractopamine is completely safe for livestock and for humans that consume their meat. According to Vilsack and Kirk - Russia’s failure to adopt the Codex standard raises questions about the country’s commitment to the global trading system.

Vilsack and Kirk say Russia has refused to engage in any constructive dialogue despite several requests to discuss the safety of ractopamine. The U.S. is calling on Russia to restore market access for U.S. meat and meat products immediately and to abide by its obligations as a World Trade Organization member.