Russia set to halt imports of U.S. beef, pork

U.S. pork and beef exports to Russia could come to a halt on Saturday following Moscow’s requirement that the meat be tested and certified free of the feed additive ractopamine…

The move could jeopardize the more than $500 million a year in exports of U.S. beef and pork to Russia…

The United States asked Russia, the sixth-largest market for U.S. beef and pork, to suspend the requirement even as it warned domestic meat companies that Moscow might reject their pork shipments that contained ractopamine and stop buying pork from processing plants that produced pork with the drug.

Ractopamine is used as a feed additive to make meat leaner, but countries such as China have banned its use despite scientific evidence that it is safe…

The U.S. Meat Export Federation told its members by email that since the U.S. Department of Agriculture had no testing and certification program in place for ractopamine, the Russian requirement could effectively halt U.S. pork and beef exports to the country by Saturday…

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, in a note posted on its website on Friday afternoon, said: “Exporters are cautioned that Russia may reject U.S. pork shipments and delist producing establishments if ractopamine residues are detected in exported product.”

FSIS also said at the moment it was not requiring meat companies for documentation attesting their pork was free of ractopamine before issuing its export certification.

Are there requirements for measuring ractopamine sold for consumption to Americans, eh?

Analysts said the Russian move was linked to the Senate’s passage of the trade bill and blah, blah, blah

Tyson Foods…a leading U.S. meat company, and agriculture powerhouse Cargill…declined to comment on how a halt in exports would impact them, but both noted the U.S. and Russian governments were in discussions.

Yes, there are 100 countries including the European Union rejecting pork with ractopamine residues. Mother Jones wrote a delightful article in February when Taiwan rejected US shipments – entitled “US Pushes the World to Import Our Dodgy Meat” – and if you’d like some delightful midnight snack reading matter, try this report from the USDA describing the symptoms of some pigs tested with the stuff.

5 thoughts on “Russia set to halt imports of U.S. beef, pork

  1. Michelle Meaders says:

    How odd! The study cited, from Purdue University, is from 2003. The changes seen from feeding the additive don’t sound too serious — like you would expect from caffeine. The article in Mother Jones was last February. None of this has been in the news, even from groups that keep an eye on food issues. The US havs no program to track this substance. Now suddenly 100 countries want to ban our imported meat? I heard that much of our “intelligence-gathering” is supposed to be about economic competion, but apparently they completely missed this.

    • eideard says:

      The 100 is cumulative. When the MJ article pub the number was more like 80 in February. Huff Post found 100 in the past week. Russia got a response from the feds because they’re finally in the World Trade Organization and can make a bigger noise than comes from bilateral trade.

  2. argylesock says:

    This is the first I’d heard of ractopamine so thank you for filling me in. Google has just told me that ractopamine is banned over here (European Union) but now I’m thinking about how the new Russian ban will affect red meat markets around the world.

  3. Update says:

    August 12, 2015: “China Doesn’t Want America’s Pork Because U.S. Pigs Are Being Pumped With Ractopamine : Ractopamine is a growth drug banned in almost 200 countries. The U.S. pork industry feeds the drug to 60-80% of American pigs.” Article includes link to FDA report listing the negative effects of Ractopamine use. China is the #1 consumer of pork in the world.

    • Michelle Meaders says:

      “Ractopamine is a growth drug banned in almost 200 countries”. That doesn’t leave many, does it? That’s about the number that don’t like what Israel is doing.

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