American meat producers may soon have to find new purchasers for their products, as many countries are banning the procurement of pork, beef and turkey from the United States.
Animals raised for food in the U.S. are often given feed that contains the chemical ractopamine, which spurs growth and makes meat leaner. However, traces of this chemical remain once the animal has been slaughtered and sent to market, a major concern for countries that have not approved it for human consumption. The European Union and China won't allow ractopamine to enter their food supply chain, and Russia has recently joined this group of countries, much to the dismay of many American food producers who will now need to find new purchasers to sell all of their products.
Russian markets will now require food producers prove their meat is not raised on the drug and will require imports to be certified as ractopamine-free. While officials claim their goal is to protect consumers from the questionable safety of this chemical, many in the U.S. are skeptical of this explanation, according to Food Safety News. The source revealed that Russia's new ban of U.S. meat will prohibit $500 million in American exports from reaching the country.
This could turn into a major issue for American meat producers, especially those that relied on foreign markets to boost their sales. However, it could also cause problems for purchasers at the other end of the supply chain. Those companies that relied on purchasing meat from America could now face higher prices if their suppliers decide to go through the expensive process of having products certified as ractopamine-free and find greater cost savings can be found by purchasing from domestic producers. Others may have no choice but to find a new meat supplier, as some U.S. companies may not want to have their meat certified and instead focus on sales in other markets.