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Russia to ban beef, pork from U.S., Canada

Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:28 AM

MOSCOW, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Russia is set to ban beef and pork imports from the United States and Canada because of the steroid ractopamine, used as a feed additive for cattle.

Last year, Russia banned the use of ractopamine as did many other European countries, The Voice of Russia reported.

"Ractopamine is a synthetic highly active pharmacological agent that helps pork producers to drive their net profits up by around 10 percent. But the profits left aside, its benefits for consumers are fairly dubious. Ractopamine has a strong impact on human body. Medicine uses drugs with just the opposite mechanism of action, particularly in cardiology. So we have all the reasons to join the measures that other countries and blocs of countries, including China and the European Union, have already introduced," said Alexei Alexeyenko, an expert with Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia's consumer rights protection agency.

Russia's new ban on the import of American and Canadian beef and pork, which may be implemented as early as Feb. 4, will only apply to chilled meat imports, and later, unless the use of ractopamine is decreased, deep-frozen meet supplies will also be banned.

Sergei Yushin, the chairman of the National Meat Association's executive committee, said he believes the ban will not likely hurt consumers.

"It will partially affect purchase prices, but consumer prices are unlikely to grow due to an excess of supply over demand ... As for beef, imports from Canada, [they] are insignificantly low and imports from the U.S. average on 7.5 percent and are unable to exert any major influence on our market," Yushin said.

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