U.S. presses Russia to "immediately" lift meat trade ban

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:57pm EST

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk speaks during a news conference in Hanoi September 3, 2012. REUTERS/Kham

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk speaks during a news conference in Hanoi September 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kham

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Monday urged Russia to immediately lift a ban on imports of U.S. meat products because of the feed additive ractopamine and to honor the commitments it made last year when it joined the World Trade Organization.

"The United States is very disappointed that Russia has taken action to suspend all imports of U.S. meat, which is produced to the highest safety standards in the world," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a joint statement.

The ban, which went into effect on Monday, has been in the works for weeks. It stems from Russia's concern over the use of ractopamine, a growth stimulant used in U.S. beef, pork and poultry product to make meat leaner.

Some countries ban the additive out of concern that trace elements could remain in the meat and cause health problems.

However, the U.N. food safety body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, in July said the additive had "no impact on human health" if residue stays within recommended levels.

"Russia's failure to adopt the Codex standard raises questions about its commitment to the global trading system," Kirk and Vilsack said.

"Despite repeated U.S. requests to discuss the safety of ractopamine, Russia has refused to engage in any constructive dialogue and instead has simply suspended U.S. meat imports. The United States calls on Russia to restore market access for U.S. meat and meat products immediately and to abide by its obligations as a Member of the World Trade Organization."

(Reporting By Doug Palmer; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (4)
Macedonian wrote:
Tasteless lean meat full of steroids what happened to the real meat juicu tender and some fat on it. If the Americans forgot how the real meat tastes then doesn’t mean the rest of the world did.

Feb 11, 2013 3:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Sinbad1 wrote:
ractopamine is banned in 80 countries, it causes mutations heart disease and other health side effects. In the US the profits of drug companies are considered more important than human health, other nations have different values.

Feb 11, 2013 4:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Derik2 wrote:
Please, provide a complete story. RIAN (2/11) writes:
(1) “… food safety standards for the United Nations, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, allows a measurable amount of ractopamine at 10 parts per billion, while the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard is 50 parts per billion.”
(2) “…ractopamine, which is used to stimulate livestock growth and make meat leaner, is prohibited in about 160 countries, including the European Union and the member states of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.”

Feb 11, 2013 6:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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