Russia is considering imposing restrictions on meat imports from a number of countries over fears that they use the growth promoter ractopamine in animal feed.
The Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), which is already threatening to maintain a ban on Brazilian meat if the drug is found, said that it suspected meat production enterprises in the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia are using the drug.
Head of Rosselhoznadzor Sergei Dankvert said: “We are sending letters to the veterinary services of Brazil, the US, Canada, Mexico and Australia, with a request to explain the situation around the use of ractopamine and we hope for a quick answer.”
Rosselkhoznadzor said that if it finds ractopamine in meat products imported from any other country, it will also consider imposing temporary restrictions on meat imports from that country.
Ractopamine stimulates the growth of muscle tissue and is banned in Russia and the Customs Union over concerns that it could have a negative effect on human health.
“We have received a letter from the Ministry of Health, which stated that the Ministry considers it appropriate to restrict the import of meat products to Russia with residues of ractopamine until we receive the results of research on the subject [of the influence of ractopamine on the human body],” said Dankvert.
The use of ractopamine has been a major barrier to re-instating trade between Russia and Brazil. Dankvert said that a recently returned delegation from Brazil had brought “disappointing results”.
“It’s about the fact that, for a long time, the veterinary services [of Brazil] gave us false information about the use of ractopamine. In this regard, we cannot accept anything it guarantees,” he said.
According to Dankvert, for this reason, pig farms which have been included on the list of suppliers under the guarantee of Brazil’s veterinary services will not necessarily receive approval for exports to Russia.
“Those businesses that were previously included in the list of suppliers from Brazil will have to provide us with clear evidence that they are not using ractopamine. Even in this case, their products will only be allowed to be delivered into Russia under close monitoring,” he added.