(Clarifies USTR spokeswoman's statement)
WASHINGTON Feb 5 A U.S. trade official said on Tuesday that Russia has not banned imports of U.S. chicken in addition to bans it has slapped on U.S. beef, pork and turkey because of concerns over the feed additive ractopamine.
Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office, was responding to a media report that Russia's veterinary surveillance agency, known as Rosselkhoznadzor, was carrying out a probe of U.S. chicken to see if it contains any residue of the growth stimulant.
It would be a surprise if ractopamine was found in U.S. chicken shipments to Russia because it is not approved for use in U.S. chicken production.
Ractopamine is a growth stimulant used to make meat leaner. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it for use in beef, pork and turkey production, but not in chicken, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
Russia has announced plans to ban imports of U.S. turkey, beef and pork effective Feb. 11 over the use of the additive.
"USTR is working actively with USDA on this issue," Mead said. Chicken has not been mentioned in any of the communications from Russia, she added.
Some countries ban the additive because of concern trace elements could remain in the meat and cause health problems.
The United Nations' food safety body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, in July found the additive had "no impact on human health" if residue remains within recommended levels. (Reporting by Doug Palmer; editing by Maureen Bavdek, G Crosse)