US exports of chilled meat are currently banned in Russia, with a ban on frozen meat due to be introduced on 11 February. The ban will remain until a dispute over the use of growth hormone ractopamine has been resolved.
According to Artem Daushev, head of Rosselkhoznadzor’s department of co-operation with foreign countries, Russian officials intend to use the experience of their European counterparts to help guarantee that any future imports of US meat are free of the drug.
“Rosselkhoznadzor is currently considering harmonising the list of approved suppliers in the US with the list currently adopted in the EU, which would significantly reduce the number of meat companies that will have the right to export their products to Russia,” he said.
“The Europeans began work on the issue of ractopamine earlier, conducting an audit of [North] American businesses and creating a list of suppliers, which only includes businesses that operate according to European quality requirements,” he said.
Daushev pointed out the US supplied meat produced without the use of ractopamine to the EU, but have not done so with Russia and other countries of the Customs Union.
“We plan to apply measures that will be equivalent to the measures that other countries have taken against the US,” he said. “Previously, when we were trying to do this, we were criticised for the fact that Russia was not a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).”
He added that the veterinary certificates sent with pork and beef shipments to Russia clearly mentioned the substances that could not be used in production.
“But the fact is that we are regularly detecting [ractopamine], indicating that the guarantees of US veterinary services are inefficient, and veterinarians, who are responsible for the certification, actually falsified documents,” he said.
Daushev said that Customs Union officials were due to visit the US in March or April to “assess the US inspection system and the trustworthiness of its guarantees”.