WASHINGTON – During the Codex meeting taking place in Rome July 2 -7, of which the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is attending, the member countries voted in favor of adopting standards for ractopamine Maximum Residue Levels (MRL). This vote is a victory for US cattlemen and women, said Kathy Simmons, NCBA chief veterinarian.

“It is paramount that science is the foundation for all decisions made in the international community,” she said from the meeting in Rome. “Today, the Codex Commission proved they are willing to trust science and make decisions based on facts rather than politics. We are very pleased that we can move ahead on adopting international standards for ractopamine. We commend the commission for all their work.”

The Codex, which was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization in 1963, sets international food standards and codes of practice that contribute to the safety of food trade. Simmons charged that the issue of ractopamine has historically caused unnecessary trade disruptions. Ractopamine is recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration as a safe feed additive, but the lack of international MRL standards caused confusion.

NCBA hopes the Codex decision will place science to the forefront of policies set by US trading partners.

“Standards not based on science create an unnecessarily volatile trading environment for US exporters who are reluctant to ship products to countries with non-science based testing regimes,” Simmons said. “Hopefully, the Codex decision to move forward with science based standards will translate into a shift in trade policy for other countries to adopt science-based safety standards.”