The Brazilian government will investigate claims by Russian authorities regarding the alleged presence of feed additive ractopamine in pork shipments, the agriculture ministry said in a statement earlier this week.
The ministry said controls in place would prevent pork meat exports to Russia from containing such a substance. Russia on Monday placed temporary restrictions on imports of pork and beef products from Brazil starting Dec. 1, after ractopamine was found in some shipments.
The ban of pork from Brazil comes at a time that imports from the Mercosur country member, the biggest foreign supplier of the meat, have been rising and as the Kremlin has sought to encourage its own farm industry.
The government barred Brazilian pork and beef imports saying testing had found the muscle growth stimulant ractopamine, which is prohibited in Russia. A Brazilian lobby for the industry said the feed additive isn’t used in production of the exported meat, which adheres to Russian rules.
Total imports of pork to Russia are rising for the first year in four and may reach 300,000 metric tons, according to Russia’s National Pig Farmers Union. Supply from Brazil, which make up 90% of the shipments, are competing with local producers on price, the union said.
“Brazil was left alone as a major supplier,” Yury Kovalev, head of the union, said in Moscow. “They were reminded that we have certain requirements.”
Russia imported 230,395 tons of Brazilian pork this year through October, about 40% of the country’s total shipments, figures from Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry show. It also imported 131,083 tons of beef, about 11% of the total.
JBS SA, Brazil’s largest meat exporter, and BRF SA, its largest chicken and pork exporter, declined to comment on the ban. Brazil beef exporter Minerva SA will maintain shipments to Russia through units in Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, it said in a statement. Marfrig Global Foods SA said Russia makes up just 3% of its Brazil beef exports.
The industry is confident about the characteristics of its product, and ensures that shipped pork production does not use ractopamine, the Brazilian Animal Protein Association lobby said in a statement.