Canada not changing tests for meat exports to Russia

Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:09pm EST
 
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada is not developing new tests for the feed additive ractopamine in beef and pork exports to Russia, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said on Tuesday, but is leaving shippers to take their own steps to satisfy the new Russian requirement for zero residue.

The Canada Pork International marketing group said on Friday that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has provided meat processors with testing guidelines for ractopamine, a drug used to make meat leaver. However, a spokesman for the federal Agriculture Department said the government is only making exporters aware of Russia's requirements.

"At this point, we're making sure the Russians understand this is not science-based," Ritz said at an unrelated news conference in Winnipeg. "There is an agreement around the world that ractopamine is a safe and usable product."

Canada has asked Russia to delay its requirement into February, he said.

Russia is requiring pork and beef imported from the United States and Canada to be tested and certified free of ractopamine as of December 7.

If Canadian exporters wish to export meat to Russia, they are responsible to test each shipment for ractopamine in an accredited laboratory, an Agriculture Department spokesman said.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Leslie Adler)