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Russia accuses Ukraine of supplying meat with ractopamine

By Vladislav Vorotnikov , 14-Feb-2013

Phoenix is currently the largest Ukrainian supplier of meat to Russia
Phoenix is currently the largest Ukrainian supplier of meat to Russia

Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has introduced temporary restrictions on the import of meat products from a Ukrainian company after veterinary inspectors found ractopamine in the shipment of frozen pork.

Authorities believe the company, Phoenix, was importing pork from the US and trying to sell it on to Russia.

According to a report from Rosselkhoznadzor, Phoenix is currently the largest Ukrainian supplier of meat to Russia. A source in the veterinary service said that, out of 54 samples taken from the company’s products, ractopamine was detected in 47.

“The issue was already discussed during negotiations with Rosselkhoznadzor. Ukrainian meat companies expect the Russian veterinary commission to arrive soon to carry out additional inspections,” said Anatoly Osadchy, spokesperson for Ukraine’s State Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service.

Head of Rosselkhoznadzor Sergey Dankvert has repeatedly pointed to the risk that products with ractopamine, – completely banned by Russia recently – will be imported into the country via Ukraine. “Following the temporary restriction on the supply of American meat products to Russia, attempts may be made to supply meat contaminated with ractopamine from the US to Ukraine. Currently, the US is the only country that has refused to meet Russia’s legislative requirements on the safety of food products,” he said.

Russia has been trying to make Ukraine to take a strict stance on ractopamine and, in particular, to introduce restrictions on the supply of contaminated products from the US. In the absence of such restrictions, Ukraine may find that it loses the opportunity to supply meat to the Customs Union. Experts from the Russian analytical agency Agrorucom noted: “Russia wants to give Ukraine a choice – either you are with us or against us. It is obvious that the country cannot remain neutral in the long-running international dispute over ractopamine. The situation with Phoenix could lead to an ultimatum from Russia – either you ban products with ractopamine in full, as we did, or you will no longer export the products to our territory. And Ukraine cannot lose something so valuable as the Russian meat market, so the choice of the government will be obvious.”