Russia has announced it will not accept meat shipments from the United States any longer, says Pravda.ru.
The banning originated from the presence of ractopamine drug in said shipments, a food additive known for reducing fat content in beef and pork. The drug is said to turn fat into muscle in livestock.
The United States claims said the Federal Agency for Agricultural Control banning is Russia’s response to the Magnitsky Act by the Senate and spouts accusations that Russia is in violation of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Codex Alimentarius of the World Health Organization, adopted by representatives of 186 countries in Rome in July 2012 allows ractopamine food additives in meat. Research states that ractopamine affects the human cardiovascular system and may potentially cause food poisoning.
Russia isn’t banning the delivery of said meat formally, but the drug itself is banned, and only a small number of countries including Canada and United States have been notified. Twenty countries where the drug is used have not been notified. However, none of the countries warned have the appropriate expertise, as none of said expertise has been needed before.
Russia is the fourth largest importer of U.S. meat and spends about $500 million a year on it. Russia consumes a small but significant percent of all beef and pork produced in the United States.
USMEF, a non-profit trade association, says more than 210 shipping containers of pork and beef from the U.S. valued at about $20 million were on their way to Russia, according to MSNBC.
This has more than just local ramifications, as Russia’s economy depends on imported meat from the United States. The United States claims this to be a political move.
Rich Nelson, chief strategist of Allendale Inc, said:
“This seems to be in retaliation to the Senate’s passage of the trade bill with Russia … there is certainly no doubt about it.”
Victor Supyan added:
“One can speculate about whether it was done in retaliation or not, but the measure was based on the content of some additives in meat that are contrary to Russian sanitary standards.”
Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich responded to accusations:
“All WTO members break these rules. This is normal.”
The United States hopes the ban will be lifted in the near future, and Russia sees no violation in its actions.