The Russian ban on US meat and meat products with ractopamine could be seen as the desire of Russian authorities to protect the national pork industry, US officials said in an interview with Russian media.
Dave Warner, spokesman of American Pork Producers Council said that Russia’s ban is more an issue of reducing competition for the domestic industry than food safety concerns. “Pork is a pretty important industry for Russia, so this is about reducing the competition for their domestic pork industry,” Warner told RIA Novosti in an interview.
In a separate interview with the Russian news agency, US Meat Export spokesman Joe Schuele said, “Obviously we want to get back to the market quickly, it was a red hot market for most of 2012, there’s a lot of demand for beef and pork in Russia.”
Schuele stated that the US exported 80,000 metric tonnes of beef and 99,000 metric tonnes of pork to Russia last year at a total value of $589 million. The comments came in the wake of Russia’s ban on imports of all American beef, pork, turkey and other meat products because of the presence of ractopamine in animal feed. The US considers it as a safe additive, arguing that more than 27 countries use ractopamine.
In a joint statement, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “The United States is very disappointed that Russia has taken action to suspend all imports of US meat, which is produced to the highest safety standards in the world.”