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Russia imposes stricter controls on US meat firms

By Vladislav Vorotnikov , 23-Aug-2012

Russia imposes stricter controls on US meat firms

Russia has tightened controls over the supply of meat from a number of US companies, including Tyson Foods and Triumph Foods.

The country’s veterinary services said a regime of intensive laboratory control had been implemented after listeria and traces of banned substances were found in meat from the US.

Head of the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), Sergey Dankvert, said: “During laboratory studies of a shipment of pork from the US, we identified listeria in pork produced by Tyson Fresh Meats. We also found tetracycline and chlortetracycline [prohibited in the Custom Union] in pork produced by Triumph Foods, with a total content of more than 10mg/kg.”

Ractopamine fears

Dankvert said that Tyson Foods would be subject to special supervision because the growth promoter ractopamine was found in shipments from three plants owned by the company. Ractopamine was also found in shipments from Triumph Foods, Farmland Foods and Smithfield Packing.

“Taking into account the fact that this is the first violation, Rosselkhoznadzor found it possible to introduce a regime of intensive laboratory testing for the supply of US meat production from the enterprises NN 244W (Tyson Fresh Meats), 244I (Tyson Fresh Meats), 17D (John Morrell), 31 965 (Triumph Foods), 320M (Farmland Foods) and 244M (Tyson Fresh Meats),” said the deputy head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Eugene Nepoklonov.

“In the case of further violations, Rosselkhoznadzor will be forced to introduce temporary restrictions on the supply of products from these companies to Russia.”

Fears for health

Rosselkhoznadzor recently announced it had sent letters to the veterinary services of the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia regarding the use of ractopamine, which is banned in Russia over concerns that it could have a negative effect on human health. The service said that if it continues to find ractopamine in meat products, it will consider imposing temporary restrictions on meat imports from those countries.

Ractopamine has also been central to trade discussions between Brazil and Russia, with Russia refusing to lift restrictions on Brazilian meat until its concerns over the use of the drug have been satisfied.

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