Public Interest Groups Applaud Russia’s Ban on U.S. Beef and Pork Products

Posted on January 30, 2013

U.S. Insistence on Feed Additive "Ractopamine" Causes Alarm Worldwide

For immediate release

Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF

SAN FRANCISCO — The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and Center for Food Safety are applauding Russia’s ban on U.S. beef and pork products because the meats may include a feed additive known as ractopamine. In December, 2012 the two groups jointly filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling for the immediate review, study, and reduction of the allowable levels of ractopamine–a controversial animal feed additive that is widely used in industrial factory farms and raises significant food safety and animal welfare concerns for the U.S. meat industry. The joint petition urges the FDA to conduct comprehensive studies on the long-term effects of human consumption, immediate health impact on animals, environmental impacts, and a thorough review of international standards.

Ractopamine, which is used to accelerate weight gain and promote feed efficiency and leanness in animals raised for meat, has been criticized in evidence collected by the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority. The drug is linked with significant health problems in animals, including cardiovascular stress, muscular skeletal tremors, increased aggression, and hyperactivity. Furthermore, the U.S. is the only country unable to guarantee that pork and beef products shipped to Russia would be free of the additive. A new report by the research and testing publication Consumer Reports – investigating 240 U.S. pork products for ractopamine – found that one in five products tested positive for ractopamine residue.

"We give the Russians a ’10’ for execution in choosing to ban products that come from animals injected with the drug ractopamine, which causes significant animal welfare problems," says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. "We urge the FDA to follow similar form."

Copies of the petition to the FDA are available upon request.

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