USDA Beef

Chemical-contaminated U.S. meat in “crude violation” of Russian law has led to all American meat being banned from entering Russia effective February 11, reports Bloomberg.com.

Ractopamine, a controversial growth hormone not approved in Russia was detected again in recent U.S. imports, despite “repeated warnings” that Rosselkhoznadzor, the Russian food safety agency, prohibits the substance, according to Bloomberg.com. It was detected during lab monitoring of imported pork products and beef liver products. Now, Russian officials have enacted a ban on all U.S. meat imports in reaction to the repeated breach of the country’s food safety rules.

Ractopamine is used to promote lean muscle, but has adrenaline-like effects that may contribute to certain health risks affecting metabolic and cardiovascular function of both livestock and humans. The EU and China have recently banned the drug as well. Consumer Reports has found traces of ractopamine in about 60–80 percent of U.S. meat samples.

Canada, Brazil and Mexico have also been asked to curtail their ractopamine-tainted meat imports to the former Soviet Union. They’ve all agreed to provide certifications from veterinarians that the animals were not fed ractopamine. The U.S. is the only country that has failed to provide assurance to Rosselkhoznadzor that it can provide veterinary guarantee that animals were not fed the controversial drug even after the country warned that lack of documentation could lead to a ban of all meat products.

U.S. Beef and pork exports to Russia make up about 9 percent of the country’s total imports.

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Image: Steve Snodgrass