Russia has widened its ban on the import of US meat amid concern over the use of growth stimulator Ractopamin to include Canada.

Russia’s Federal Agency for Agricultural Control, the Rosselhohznadzor, said it will prevent the import of any meat produced from animals fed using the beta-blocker in those two countries, which is used to also reduce the content of fat in beef and pork.

This drug is banned for use in 160 countries, including Russia and China, but is allowed in 24 countries, including Canada and the US.

Deputy head of the Rosselkhoznador Yevgeny Nepoklonov notified Assistant Administrator for the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, Dr Ronald Jones, in an open letter that enhanced laboratory control revealed ractopamine in frozen pork imported to Russia from the US produced by a John Morrell & Co plant.

Nepoklonov also wrote a letter to the Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada, Dr Ian Alexander, saying that laboratory tests carried out within monitoring of banned substances in meat products imported to Russia from Canada revealed ractopamine in frozen pork produced by plants run by Fearmans Pork, Maple Leaf Foods, Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada and Atrahan Transformation.

As a result, the Rosselkhoznadzor said it has impose temporary restrictions on the import of products from the Canadian Plant of Aliments Asta and Quality Meat Packers. On the remaining plants, the agency said it has enhanced laboratory control over products from those facilities.

If there are further breeches of the regulation, the Rosselkhoznadzor said it will have to impose temporary restrictions on the import of these products to Russia.

Nepoklonov also wrote to the Secretary for Agricultural Defense of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) of Brazil, Enio Antonio Marques Pereira, stating that laboratory tests had revealed ractopamine in frozen pork produced by facilities of Seara Alimentos and Sadia.

As a result of these initial breaches, the Rosselkhoznadzor said it had “stepped up” its testing of products from these plants and has waned them that further breeches will mean a ban on the import of products.