Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor has announced temporary bans on the meat products of nine foreign companies, to be imposed from 23 January.
Rosselkhoznadzor said the restrictive measures were being introduced because the companies in question had delivered meat that did not meet the safety and quality requirements of the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) and therefore posed a potential threat to the health of consumers.
"From 23 January of this year, temporary restrictions on meat imports will be imposed on two Canadian companies and two companies from the USA, as well as one company from Paraguay, one from Australia, one from the Netherlands, one from the Czech Republic and one from Ukraine," said the official statement.
According to the report, ractopamine was found in a number of meat shipments from Canada and the USA. The deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Eugene Nepoklonov, has written to Canada’s chief veterinary officer, Ian Alexander, explaining that, according to recently implemented rules, Russia will ban all meat imports from exporters found to be using this feed additive.
"As a result of laboratory studies, ractopamine has been revealed in batches of frozen pork, produced by enterprises № 4 (Fearmans Pork Inc), № 7 (Maple Leaf Foods Inc/Les Aliments Maple Leaf Inc); № 419 (Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada Inc); № 80 (Atrahan Transformation Inc)," he said.
"Ractopamine was also detected in shipments of pork from Canadian enterprises № 484 (Aliments Asta Inc) and № 14 (Quality Meat Packers). This is a violation of the animal health requirements of the Customs Union and Russia, and therefore the products of these companies will be banned."
A Rosselkhoznadzor spokesperson explained the other bans were related to the detection of contamination and bacteria.
"Also, the increased bacterial contamination has been found in poultry meat of one enterprise of the US and one of the Netherlands; dangerous infectious disease listeriosis has been found in Ukrainian and Czech poultry, as well as beef from Paraguay. Coliform bacteria were found in the Australian beef," they said.
Although the temporary ban will only be imposed on shipments received after 23 January, Russia said it would only accept shipments arriving from the listed companies before that date after thorough veterinary testing.