Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
U.S. Embassy Moscow Fact Sheet: Ractopamine (December 11, 2012)

U.S. Embassy Moscow Fact Sheet: Ractopamine

Moscow, Russia | December 11, 2012

Notes on claims of unanswered safety questions - English

Notes on claims of unanswered safety questions - Russian

Safety of Ractopamine:

  • Despite the Codex Alimentarius’ recent adoption of an international standard for ractopamine residues, Russia has imposed a zero tolerance for ractopamine residues, effectively restricting Russia’s imports of pork and beef products from the United States.
  • The scientific evidence is clear that ractopamine is safe.  Twenty-seven countries have approved ractopamine for use in feed for cattle and swine, and the Codex Alimentarius—an inter-governmental body created by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization of the United Nations—has established standards for the drug, which provide clear guidance to countries about its safe use.
  • Consumers worldwide benefit when countries adopt international standards.  Codex standards are developed based on the scientific assessments of the independent FAO/WHO Expert Committees.  Using science-based decision-making allows Codex to adopt standards that are technically sound, assure that food is safe for any nation’s diet, and free from national or regional influences.
  • Since 2004, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) which is an independent body that Codex relies on for scientific advice has closely examined the use of ractopamine in meat production. The JECFA is organized by and operates under the FAO and the World Health Organization.  The JECFA participants do not represent governments or regions and are selected solely for their scientific expertise. 
  • After a long and much deliberated process the Codex Commission adopted a maximum residue limit for Ractopamine.  According to the Joint Experts Committee on Food Additives, the technical body that reviewed the dossier, no other country or CODEX member, including Russia, provided Codex with the science to demonstrate the MRL was set at an incorrect level. 
  • The adoption of these standards followed all of the appropriate Codex steps for review.  They were subject to the same rigorous review that has been used to create hundreds of standards for pesticides, additives, contaminants, and veterinary drugs over the past 50 years, that countries have come to rely on to protect their consumers.
  • The United States will continue to reach out to Russia to resolve our differences, welcoming the chance to have further technical discussions on the safety of ractopamine.  We have encouraged Russia to adopt and apply the Codex Alimentarius Commission's residue levels for ractopamine in imported meat products to help provide certainty to this important trade. 

For further information, see United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk and United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s recent statement: