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Codex Adopts Ractopamine Residue Levels for Beef

09 July 2012

GLOBAL - The Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) has voted to adopt maximum residue levels (MRLs) of ractopamine, a feed ingredient that improves meat metabolism and protein synthesis, for beef and pork muscle, fat, liver and kidney.

The Commission voted 69-67 in favor of establishing the MRLs of 10 parts per billion in beef and pork.

Adoption of the MRLs was supported by the US, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, the Philippines and the majority of the rest of the world outside of Europe in an effort to send a message that Codex is a science-based body and that inaction is not an option in an increasingly globalised world.

“The adoption of ractopamine MRLs should facilitate trade,” said AMI Vice President of International Trade William Westman.

“International standards on food safety are essential for importing and exporting countries. These science-based standards are vital to protect consumer health and harmonize trade standards in all countries.”

The Codex vote brings it in line with findings from the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) which has evaluated and confirmed the human safety of ractopamine three times (2004, 2006, 2010).

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: "After five years of hard work by the Codex Commission, including the US Department of Agriculture and our federal agency partners, the United States welcomes the Commission's adoption of standards for the veterinary drug ractopamine. This action by Codex affirms the pre-eminent role of science in setting international standards for food safety.

"Currently, American producers face trade restrictions due to unjustified bans on the use of ractopamine, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and used safely in the United States for 12 years as well as 25 other countries. These standards provide clear guidance to countries about safe use of ractopamine, which promotes lean meat production.

"Codex is an inter-governmental body created by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization of the United Nations, and is recognized as the international standards setting body for food safety by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Establishment of international standards for veterinary drugs like ractopamine are important since many countries rely on science-based food standards to ensure that the food they are importing is safe. U.S. agricultural exporters benefit and consumers worldwide benefit when countries adopt international standards.

"Consumers can rest assured that their food is safe, and exporters have greater certainty about the criteria they must meet in the international marketplace."

The MRLs became final once the Commission adopted the final Commission Report on Saturday, 7 July.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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