* Russia bans imports of U.S. beef and pork
* Russia wants imports certified free of ractopamine
MOSCOW/LOS ANGELES Feb 1 Russia has decided to
ban imports of U.S. beef and pork due to the feed additive
ractopamine, which they may contain, Russia's Veterinary and
Phyto-Sanitary Surveillance Service (VPSS) said in a statement.
Russia got 7.5 percent of its imported beef and 11.4 percent
of its imported pork from the United States between January and
The service would impose a temporary ban on U.S. beef and
pork starting on Feb. 11, it added in the statement.
Ractopamine is a growth stimulant used to make meat leaner
and which is banned in some countries because of concerns that
residues could remain in the meat and cause health problems,
despite scientific evidence it is safe.
"Although Russia is not the largest export market for U.S.
beef and pork, it's a very valuable export market," said Gary
Mickelson, spokesman for Tyson Food Inc, the largest
U.S. meat company.
"We'd rather not speculate about a halt in business to
Russia, but we're hopeful the U.S. and Russian government can
quickly resolve this matter," Mickelson said.
In Tyson's fiscal 2012 (Oct-Sept), Russia accounted for 9
percent of the company's $1.1 billion in international pork
sales. The company's latest fact book did not have a figure for
its beef sales to Russia.
Russia imported 1.25 million tonnes of red meat, excluding
offal, worth $4.47 billion from non-CIS countries in 2011,
according to official customs data.