WASHINGTON – After a United Nations commission approved an international standard for the safe and approved feed ingredient ractopamine, the National Pork Producers Council praised this move.

Established by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and its World Health Organization to promote food safety and fair practices in trade, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, adopted a science-based standard for ractopamine, a feed ingredient used to promote leanness in pork and beef, on July 4. This marks the fifth time the UN body considered setting a maximum residue limit for ractopamine.

“NPPC is pleased that the Codex commission finally approved this scientifically proven safe product,” said R.C. Hunt, NPPC president. “The commission, as it should, fulfilled its mandate to base standards and guidelines on science.”

Ractopamine, like all feed ingredients, was evaluated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has been approved for use in 26 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines and South Korea. A Codex panel of international scientists, including scientists from the European Union, has confirmed three times the safety of ractopamine, most recently in 2010 based on data from China.

Despite those findings and the support of the US, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico and countries outside of Europe, the standard again was opposed for non-scientific reasons outside the scope of the Codex by the European Union and Russia, NPPC charged. The EU, China, Taiwan and Thailand currently ban imports of pork from pigs fed ractopamine.

“US pork producers are very disappointed with the continued opposition to ractopamine for reasons other than scientific ones from several countries, particularly Russia,” Hunt said. “That country is set to join the World Trade Organization this year, and the WTO requires member countries to abide by international trade standards. Given Russia’s intransigence on ractopamine, we’re concerned about its commitment to WTO principles.”