RUSSIA/US - The US National Turkey Federation and the US Poultry and Egg Export Council have hit out at the ban on imports of turkey meat to Russia because of fears over ractopamine, writes Chris Harris.
The Russian food safety and veterinary authority Rosselkhoznador will ban imports of turkey meat and turkey products from Russia and other CU countries from 11 February because of concerns that the birds have been grown using the beta-agonist.
The move follows Rosselkhoznador's ban on beef and pork products because of concerns over ractopamine residues.
In a letter to Ronald Jones, Assistant Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture, Yevgeny Nepoklonov, Deputy Head of the Rosselkhoznadzor, expressed deep regret on the fact that in spite of repeated appeals from the Rosselkhoznadzor, the US had given no guarantees on the absence of the beta-agonist (ractopamine) in animal product consignments supplied on to the Russian market.
He said that the situation had been aggravated by the fact that the USA continued exports of meat containing ractopamine residues, which have been detected during laboratory monitoring.
"Failure of the American party to supply reliable ractopamine free meat results in undue additional costs spent by the Russian members of foreign trade on disposal, recycling or re-export of products non-compliant with the safety requirements," Mr Nepoklonov said.
However, a letter from the US National Turkey Federation and USAPEEC said that despite the fact that Codex Alimentarius has established the safety of ractopamine, no US manufacturer, with the right to export to Russia, uses ractopamine either in the feed or the manufacturing process.
All turkey and boiler meat supplied by companies authorised to export to the Russian Federation fully complies with the official veterinary and sanitary requirements of Russia.
For the US industry, food safety is an absolute priority and its products are a valuable and nutritious food source for consumers around the world.
In response, Rosselkhoznador said that it had to clarify what it sees as the Codex Alimentarius position on ractopamine. It said the safety of the product had not been fully established, as the position had been taken by a simple vote and not by discussion of the scientific data and a consensus opinion.
It said that scientific data and the opinions of the competent authorities of Russia, the European Union, China, Taiwan and other countries had been ignored.
Rosselkhoznador commended the US industry organisations for their measures to comply with Russian regulations.
But it said that it had had no response from the US agencies that are required to carry out pre-export certification checks on products to be exported to Russia.
"In accordance with international law, the guarantor of compliance with export production requirements of the importing country for security, is the national state veterinary service provider country. Through complete disregard for requests and notifications by Rosselkhoznadzor the veterinary authorities of the US, in recent months, have severely threaten the supply of a wide range of US meat products to Russia," Rosselkhoznador said.