U.S. Authorities Not Aware of Chicken Import Ban

WASHINGTON — A U.S. trade official said Tuesday that Russia had not banned imports of U.S. chicken, as it had done with beef, pork and turkey because of concerns over the feed additive ractopamine.

Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, was responding to a media report that Russia's food inspection agency was investigating imports of U.S. chicken to see whether they contain residue of the growth stimulant, which is used to make meat leaner.

It would be a surprise if ractopamine were found in U.S. chicken shipments to Russia.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it for use in beef, pork and turkey production but not in chicken production, Mead said.

Russia announced plans to ban imports of U.S. turkey, beef and pork effective Feb. 11 over the use of the additive.

"[The trade office] is working actively with USDA on this issue," Mead said.

Chicken has not been mentioned in any of the communications from Russia, she added.

Some countries ban the additive because of concerns that trace elements could remain in the meat and cause health problems.

The United Nations' food safety body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, in July found that the additive has no impact on human health if residue remains within recommended levels.

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