Codex Decides to Move Ahead with Ractopamine Standards
WASHINGTON - The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is present at the Codex meeting taking place in Rome July 2 -7. Participating member countries expressed their views on the safety of ractopamine and today, July 5, 2012, the member countries voted in favor of the adoption of standards for Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) for ractopamine. According to NCBA Chief Veterinarian Kathy Simmons, this is a victory for U.S. cattlemen and women.
“It is paramount that science is the foundation for all decisions made in the international community. Today, the Codex Commission proved they are willing to trust science and make decisions based on facts rather than politics,” said Simmons, who is in Rome for the Codex meeting. “We are very pleased that we can move ahead on adopting international standards for ractopamine. We commend the commission for all their work.”
Established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and World Health Organization in 1963, the Codex sets international food standards and codes of practice that contribute to the safety of food trade. The issue of ractopamine has historically caused unnecessary trade disruptions, according to Simmons. Simmons said ractopamine is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe feed additive, but the lack of international MRL standards caused confusion.
NCBA is hopeful the Codex decision will bring science back to the forefront of policies set by U.S. trading partners.
“Standards not based on science create an unnecessarily volatile trading environment for U.S. exporters who are reluctant to ship products to countries with non-science based testing regimes,” said Simmons. “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.”