Russia may ban US pork due to high antibiotic content

15-12-2009 | |

Russia is considering imposing a total ban on exports of US pork due to its high antibiotic content.

To date, the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Control Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) has already banned supplies from 15 US enterprises; however these restrictions might be extended to include all US companies.

More antibiotics allowed
According to head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Sergei Dankvert, the US standards relating to the antibiotics content in meat are higher than in Codex Alimentarius, (a collection of internationally recognized standards, relating to food production and food safety) especially in the case of offal. For example, the current European standard for antibiotics content in the byproducts is 200 micrograms per 1 kg of meat, on international level – 400 micrograms, while in the US – 1200-1600 mcg. According to Russian laws, the use of antibiotics in meat is not allowed into the country.

Standards ignored
Rosselkhoznadzor ordered the US pork enterprises to bring the supply of its products in line with Russia’s standards by December 1, 2009. However, these recommendations were ignored. In November, this year Rosselkhoznadzor started in-depth testing of pork from the US and revealed high content of antibiotics in most delivered batches.

Mr. Dankvert does not exclude that due to violation of the rules Russia may impose a total ban on pork imports from the United States.

Products are safe
Meanwhile the US exports are claiming that there is no scientific basis to impose such restrictions. They do not deny using antibiotics in meat and assure that their products are safe.

According to the Head of the Executive Committee of the National Meat Association, Sergei Yushin, imposing a ban on the US pork will not significantly affect the Russian market however for the United States this could be a noticeable loss. (Evegen Vorotnikov)