Russia imposing temporary ban on U.S. turkey

Concerns over use of ractopamine prompt ban that will begin February 11

Russia will soon ban imports of U.S. turkey because of concerns about the use of the feed additive ractopamine, according to the country’s Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service. The ban includes U.S. turkey meat, as well as finished products containing turkey meat.

The service will impose a temporary ban, effective February 11. It earlier decided to ban imports of U.S. beef and pork from the same date, also because of ractopamine concerns. Reports of a potential ban on U.S. chicken products are unfounded, as U.S. government officials have said they have received no communication concerning chicken.

Poultry trade groups have said U.S. turkey companies that ship to Russia do not use the growth stimulant ractopamine. It is banned in some countries because of concerns it could remain in the meat and cause health problems, despite scientific evidence showing it is safe.

The U.S., through November 2012, exported 3,930 tons of turkey to Russia valued at $7.8 million, which was up 115 and 118 percent from 2011 in terms of quantity and value, respectively, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

A USDA spokesman said they were aware of reports of a planned ban on imports of U.S. turkey products, but “have received no official communications from the Russian Veterinary Service on this matter. Clearly we would have great concerns about any such action” if it were to occur, he said to Reuter’s.