Russia restricts imports from seven beef plants in Argentina and Paraguay

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s agriculture safety watchdog will impose restrictions on beef supplies to Russia from five plants in Argentina and two plants in Paraguay starting from Dec. 18, it said on Wednesday, warning that it could widen these restrictions.

Rosselkhoznadzor said in a statement it found ractopamine in some shipments, a feed additive that is banned in Russia. Its officials will hold talks with their counterparts from Argentina and Paraguay on Dec. 6.

“The service also does not rule out that a decision may be made to impose restrictions on imports of beef and cattle meat products from all enterprises of these countries,” it said in the statement.

Ractopamine allows livestock to grow at a faster rate while consuming less feed. It is banned in countries including Russia and the European Union.

The watchdog said last week it had removed temporary restrictions on beef supplies to Russia from two plants in Brazil.

The five to-be-restricted plants in Argentina include those owned by Azul Natural Beef S.A., Frigorifico General Pico S.A., Frigorifico H.V. S.A., Matadero y Frigorifico EL Mercedino S.A. and Rafaela Alimentos, while the two in Paraguay are Frigorifico Norte S.A. and Tripera Paraguaya S.A.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by Louise Heavens