December 31, 2013
Russia's ban on US pork and beef due to ractopamine had cost American producers a whooping US$4-5 million, although a far cry from the figure recently claimed by the US Ambassador.
US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul had previously reported that the year-old ban had cost America's pork and beef industries US$4-5 billion but has actually cost American producers only about US$4-5 million, and McFaul quickly acknowledged the mistake without explaining how it came about.
Ractopamine is a growth additive that results in more lean meat production. While world regulatory bodies have set safe levels for its use, numerous countries have banned the substance.
The international Codex Alimentarius Commission set safe limits for residual ractopamine in meats in July 2012, but Russia went ahead with its December 2012 announcement of the ban. McFaul said US pork and beef products actually stopped entering Russia in February 2013. While the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives and 27 other regulatory authorities around the world concur with the safe levels for the growth additive, China and the EU have also banned ractopamine.