WASHINGTON — Russia’s recent ban of U.S. pork products are inconsistent with standards set by Codex Alimentarius, the international, food-safety standard-setting body, said J. Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute. His statement followed the news this week that Russia banned imports from seven U.S. pork plants during the month of December for allegedly containing excessive antibiotic levels.

"Codex Alimentarius sets tolerance levels for very-low residues of drugs commonly used to treat pigs — residues so low they are harmless to human health, according to scientists," he added. "Russia, however, has adopted a ‘zero tolerance’ for any level of some antibiotic residues. Russia stands alone globally in holding the U.S. to these standards.

"Russia’s continued actions to move toward full closure of its market to U.S. pork are frustrating and inexplicable trade barriers that simply cannot be supported scientifically," Mr. Boyle continued. "U.S. pork has an excellent reputation for safety worldwide. We appreciate U.S.D.A.’s efforts to better understand the rationale behind Russia’s actions and to bring the actions to a swift resolution so that full pork trade with Russia may resume."