The Codex Alimentarius Commission – established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and its World Health Organization to promote food safety and fair practices in trade – has approved an international standard for ractopamine. It was the fifth time the body considered setting a maximum residue limit for the feed ingredient used to promote leanness in pork and beef. National Pork Producers Council President R.C. Hunt says NPPC is pleased the commission finally approved this scientifically proven safe product. He says the commission fulfilled its mandate to base standards and guidelines on science. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Veterinarian Kathy Simmons called the move a victory for U.S. cattlemen and women. She says the Codex Commission proved they are willing to trust science and make decisions based on the facts rather than politics.
NPPC notes ractopamine was evaluated and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has been approved for use in 26 countries. A Codex panel of international scientists has confirmed the safety of ractopamine three times. According to NCBA’s Simmons – the issue of ractopamine has historically caused unnecessary trade disruptions. She says the lack of international MRL standards caused confusion. NPPC notes the EU, China, Taiwan and Thailand currently ban imports of pork from pigs fed ractopamine.
Hunt says U.S. pork producers are disappointed with the continued opposition to ractopamine for non-scientific reasons. He says Russia is set to join the WTO this year – and the WTO requires member countries to abide by international trade standards. Given the country’s intransigence on ractopamine – he says NPPC is concerned about its commitment to WTO principles. NCBA expresses hope the Codex decision will bring science back to the forefront of policies set by U.S. trading partners.