Current Weather
The Spy FM

Why Russia Is Saying ‘Nyet’ To U.S. Meat Imports

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
February 12, 2013

Chances are, you’ve never heard of ractopamine. But as of Monday, U.S. meat exports to Russia — worth $500 million dollars a year — have been suspended, all because of this obscure chemical.

Russian officials say American meat products won’t be allowed into their country unless the meat is certified free of ractopamine.

Some U.S. meat producers add ractopamine to the feed that they give to their pigs, cattle or turkeys. Animals who are fed ractopamine convert more of their feed into valuable lean protein, rather than fat.

Traces of the additive can be detected in meat, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says those small amounts pose no risk to human health. The FDA first approved the additive in 1999.

There have been many reports, however, of health problems in animals that were eating ractopamine. Safety officials in the European Union, China and Russia have refused to approve it. (The Food and Agriculture Reporting Network published a thorough report on the controversies last year.)

U.S. companies that export meat to the European Union in fact, routinely make sure that their meat is free of ractopamine. But exporters to Russia have not been willing to do this. Even though meat exports to Russia have grown rapidly in recent years, U.S. exporters haven’t been willing to spend the extra money required to supply it with ractopamine-free products.

American officials, for their part, are demanding that Russia end the blockade. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Trade Representative Ron Kirk issued a joint statement calling on Russia to “restore market access for U.S. meat and meat products immediately.”

American meat, they asserted, “is produced to the highest safety standards in the world.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

5PM to 7PM American Routes

American Routes

Hosted by Nick Spitzer, American Routes is a two-hour weekly excursion into American music, spanning eras and genresroots rock and soul, blues and country, jazz, gospel and beyond.

Listen Live Now!

7PM to 9PM The Oklahoma Rock Show

The Oklahoma Rock Show

The Oklahoma Rock Show filters through dozens of submissions a week to find the best in new local music. Ryan LaCroix is the host and mastermind behind the show and teaches at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO).

View the program guide!

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center