MOSCOW – Russia has set a Feb. 4 deadline for the United States and Canada to provide guarantees that chilled pork and beef exported to Russia will be free of ractopamine.

Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, said the agency requested information about measures the US and Canada are taking to prevent exporting non-compliant chilled meat products. The agency has not received a response.

“The Rosselkhoznadzor is especially concerned about the import of chilled meat products to Russia,” the agency said in a statement. “The situation is deteriorated by the fact that chilled pork and beef come on the market before the laboratory test results for ractopamine presence are obtained.

“Lack of proper regulation in these issues can result in imposition of temporary restrictions on import of abovementioned products to Russia from February 4, current year,” Rosselkhoznadzor added.

The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service warned the meat industry about a possible ban on US beef and pork exports because of Moscow’s requirement that meat be tested and certified free of ractopamine, a feed additive. Russia implemented the requirement within days of the US Senate's passage of the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012, which established Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia.

Analysts have linked passage of the bill to Russia’s move on ractopamine residues, characterizing the new regulation on the feed additive as political retaliation.