* No clarity on new list of pork and beef suppliers
* South America suppliers, mainly Brazil, to cover demand
* Cargill, JBS, Maple Leaf Foods, Olymel biggest Canada
MOSCOW, April 5 Russia plans to ban meat imports
from most Canadian and Mexican suppliers from April 8 over
concerns about the use of the feed additive ractopamine,
Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary service (VPSS) said on
"More than 50 percent of Canadian companies will be excluded
from the list of suppliers," VPSS spokesman Alexei Alekseenko
Russia also plans to ban about 80 percent of Mexican meat
importers from April 8, Interfax news agency reported earlier on
Friday, citing the head of VPSS Sergei Dankvert.
Canada was the largest pork supplier to Russia and accounted
for 25 percent of its imports in 2012, Sergei Yushin, head of
Russia's National Meat Association, told Reuters. About 5
percent of imported beef came to Russia from Mexico last year.
VPSS's list of Canadian pork suppliers, published on its
website www.fsvps.ru, includes about 88 companies, while the
list for Mexico includes 20 names. A VPSS spokesman could not
comment on whether these lists had been updated.
Used as a growth stimulant to make meat leaner, ractopamine
is banned in some countries over concerns that residues could
remain in the meat and cause health problems, despite scientific
evidence indicating that it is safe.
Since December, Russia has only accepted meat from Canadian
livestock that were never fed ractopamine - which was already a
tiny portion of the cattle herd, said John Masswohl, director of
government and international relations at the Canadian
Now Russia will only accept meat from ractopamine-free
animals that are processed in Canadian plants that do not also
handle livestock that have been raised on the stimulant - and
such plants do not exist in Canada, Masswohl said.
"You're taking a very bad existing situation, which limits
(beef) trade to almost nothing, and making it nothing."
Cargill Ltd and JBS USA Holdings Inc, are
the biggest beef packers in Canada.
"Our government is disappointed that despite our
collaborative efforts, the Russian government is moving forward
with this measure not rooted in science," said Canadian
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, in an email statement to
Reuters. "We continue to work aggressively with Canadian
industry to restore their access into the important Russian
Russia is a small, but fast-growing market for Canadian
beef, worth about C$15 million ($14.7 million) in 2011. Russia
is the third-largest market for Canadian pork, worth about C$500
million a year, said Jacques Pomerleau, executive director of
Canada Pork International, a marketing promotion agency.
Canada has about a dozen pork-processing plants that only
accept ractopamine-free pigs, but there is no guarantee that
Russia will include all of them on its revised supplier list,
Canada's two biggest pork processors, Olymel and Maple Leaf
Foods, have some facilities that should be eligible,
"We're working very hard to meet Russia's expectations,"
said Olymel spokesman Richard Vigneault. "It's a very important
market for us."
Spokespersons for Cargill and JBS could not be immediately
reached, and Maple Leaf declined comment.
Spokesmen for Mexico's Economy and Agriculture ministries
said they were still reviewing the situation.
The Feb. 11 Russian ban on U.S. beef, pork and turkey
because of the feed additive remains in place. Russia barred
turkey imports from the United States despite a U.S. poultry
trade group's finding that U.S. turkey companies that ship to
Russia do not use ractopamine.
More than $600 million worth of U.S. beef, pork and turkey
is exported to Russia annually. The ban came amid trade tensions
between the two countries.
The U.S. Senate last year approved a bill to expand
bilateral trade. At the same time it sought to punish Russian
human rights violators, leading to speculation that the ban on
U.S. meat was in retaliation, which Russia denied.
"Basically we're just watching the situation and working
with the industry and U.S. trade officials on a solution," said
Joe Schuele, communications director for the U.S. Meat Export
Federation, a trade association for U.S. meat producers.
Russia will cover its meat demand by supplies from South
America, mainly Brazil, Alekseenko said.
Russia imported 1.32 million tonnes of red meat, excluding
offal, worth $5.12 billion from countries outside the
Commonwealth of Independent States in 2012, official customs