* Russia says it will allow ractopamine-free imports
* Supplies from Canada to be resumed this year
* Russia curbed EU pork imports in January
(Adds details, quotes, context)
MOSCOW, Feb 19 Russia plans to resume pork
imports from Brazil and the United States in March to compensate
for falling supplies from the European Union, Russia's
veterinary and phytosanitary service (VPSS) said on Wednesday.
Russia banned most meat imports from the United States and
Canada early last year because of concerns over the use of the
feed additive ractopamine. Supplies from Brazil were limited in
2011 over concerns related to its safety monitoring system.
"We will allow supplies from firms which guarantee us that
they don't use ractopamine," VPSS spokesman Alexei Alekseenko
said, adding that a list of such companies has not yet been
Russia needs to increase pork supplies from Brazil and the
U.S. after it limited imports from the EU following an outbreak
of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Lithuania in January. The EU
described the decision as "disproportionate".
Brazil and Canada have indicated that they would like to
increase pork supplies to Russia, Alekseenko said. Before the
enforced reduction on EU imports, Russia was buying about a
quarter of the EU's annual pork exports.
Supplies from Canada are expected to resume this year after
an inspection by the VPSS, the date of which has not yet been
set yet, Alekseenko added.
Ractopamine is a growth stimulant used to make meat leaner.
It is banned in some countries because of concerns it could
remain in the meat and cause health problems, despite scientific
evidence showing it to be safe.
Russia imported 1.2 million tonnes of red meat, worth $4.6
billion, from countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent
States in 2013, according to official customs data. Poultry
imports reached 404,100 million tonnes, worth $0.6 billion.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by David Goodman)