Beef and pork exports to Russia will be halted Feb. 11 on concerns that the U.S. cannot guarantee the products are free of ractopamine, according to information released to Bloomberg from Russian food safety authority Rosselkhoznadzor.
Russia first announced in December that it would require testing of U.S. meat exports to ensure all meat was free of the feed additive. At the time, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said it was "very concerned" with the testing protocol and that it appeared to be inconsistent with WTO member obligations.
Regarding the full ban, Rosselkhoznadzor told Bloomberg that the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service was unable to guarantee that meat shipments would be free of the additive.
"The Rosselkhoznadzor informed FSIS of the US Ministry of Agriculture that despite the repeated warnings the growth promoter ractopamine prohibited for use in Russia was detected during the laboratory monitoring of imported food product safety in pork consignments produced by plant No.17D and beef liver produced by plant No.235 which was a crude violation of Russian and CU animal health requirements," the food safety service said in a statement Wednesday.
Ahead of the ban this week, Rosselkhoznadzor warned that out of the four countries from which it requested ractopamine-free guarantees – Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. – the U.S. was the "only country that has taken no measures to ensure compliance with said requirement."
According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, value of beef exports to Russia totaled $203.7 million and pork exports totaled $202.9 million from January to September, 2012.