La setmana passada a Roma, el Codex Alimentarius Comissió va adoptar el nivell màxim de residus (LMR) normes per a la ractopamine clorhidrat, un ingredient menjar utilitzat per promoure la flaquesa en porcí i boví, en tancar 69 a 67 vot. L'u. Aliments i administració de drogues aprovat ractopamine com additiu de menjar d'una caixa forta 12 fa anys, però la manca de LMR internacional ha provocat una certa confusió en comerç internacional.

El Codex Alimentarius Comissió, més conegut com còdex, es va establir UN menjar i organització de l'agricultura i World Health Organization en per 1963 posar menjar estàndards i codis de pràctiques que contribueixen a la seguretat del comerç d'aliments. Codex has approximately 185 countries plus the EU as members. Amb 136 membres de la votació, sobre 50 members could have voted to increase the majority or voted to defeat the proposal. Opposition was concentrated in the EU, però també s'inclou a la Xina, Taiwan, L'Índia, Turquia, L'Iran, Egipte i Rússia.

Science was not an issue. In addition to the U.S., reguladors de 25 altres països han aprovat l'ús de ractopamine com ara Brasil, Canadà, Costa Rica, Indonèsia, Mèxic, les Filipines, South Korea and other countries throughout the world except Europe. The human safety of meat products derived from pigs and cattle fed ractopamine had been confirmed by the Joint FAO/OIE Expert Committee on Food Additives, incloent-hi els científics de la UE, en 2004, 2006 i 2010. The MRLs are 10 ppb en carn de porc i vedella, 40 ppb en fetges i 90 ppb en els ronyons.

Segons salut Elanco Animal, un fabricant de productes comercials que contenien ractopamine, «ractopamine és un ingredient pinso que dirigeix nutrients de greix de proteïna magra, ajuda a augmentar el rendiment de carn magra de porc i bestiar. És un compost orgànic sintètic, not an antibiotic nor a steroid hormone.” Its use increases average daily gain and improves feed efficiency. Producing more with less is critical for sustainable production.

Ractopamine residues are already an issue in trade between Taiwan and the U.S. Taiwan has had an import ban on pork and beef with any residue, però és en el procés de condicional revertir la prohibició d'importació de carn amb un residu, but excluding import of beef organs. Taiwan’s legislature plans to vote on the issue in late July. There are no plans for now to remove the ban on imports of pork with residues, fins i tot encara que sota el Còdex estàndards de vedella i porc ha de ser tractat el mateix. Most of Taiwan’s pork consumption comes from domestic production, but only a small amount of beef is produced locally. També, ten times more pork is consumed annually than beef. Meat trade problems have spilled over into other trade relations between the countries. It is in Taiwan’s interest to find a solution, però cal abordar les preocupacions dels productors de porc local.

Rússia és importador de carn més gran del món en 2012 a 1.1 milions de tones mètriques (. MMT) segons les estimacions de l'estranger servei agrícola d'USDA i el segon importador de porc al 0.9 . MMT. Russia has a history of using non-science-based sanitary barriers to trade. After a seventeen year wait to join the WTO, Parlament rus ratificat el juliol 10 el país ’ adhesió s a l'OMC, becoming the 156th member. Russia will be bound to comply with international standards unless they can explain a science-based reason not to comply. The National Pork Producers Council has already raised concerns about Russia’s commitment to the WTO rules-based system and Codex standards. Russia will need to go through a learning curve in the WTO process to decide how their interests can best be served. Ractopamine MRLs should not be a make or break issue for them.

La UE és la 6a importador de vedella a gairebé 0.4 . MMT a 2012, però també és el segon major exportador de carn de porc, després dels EUA, a 2.1 . MMT. They may see an opportunity to sell ‘ractopamine free’ meat even though the science says that the MRLs are totally safe. Their vote against the MRL standards probably influenced other countries to also vote no. Since the vote, la UE referma la seva oposició a les normes i no té plans per canviar la legislació de la UE sobre la qüestió.

China also bans pork from pigs fed ractopamine. Xina s'importarà 0.650 . MMT de porc 2012, tied with Mexico for the world’s third and fourth largest pork importer. Un altre 0.4 MMT is expected to be imported through Hong Kong. It’s uncertain how much of that pork will move to China. Combining China and Hong Kong imports, la 2012 total es poden 1.050 . MMT, fent-lo número dos en importacions després de Japó a 1.25 . MMT.

Clearly there is somewhat of a disconnect between the vote in Codex on the ractopamine MRL standards and the political decisions to restrict trade for reasons other than consumer food safety. The beef situation is simple with only Russia among the major importers and exporters who may not implement the new standards. Pork is more complex with the number two and number three importers, Rússia i la Xina, voting against the standards. Some other smaller importers like Taiwan also opposed the new standards.

A country cannot be forced under the WTO agreement to import a product its citizens refused to eat. The country may be faced with retaliatory tariffs on export products if the WTO finds it in violation of its WTO commitments. For a country wanting to import pork and beef based on international scientific standards, they now have the Codex approved ones. Com u. Secretari d'agricultura Vilsack va dir, “Consumidors pot estar segur que el menjar és segur, i exportadors amb major certesa sobre els criteris que han de complir en el mercat internacional.”

La Comissió del Codex pres la decisió correcta basat en la ciència; that was their sole responsibility. Each national government must now define a comfort level with the MRL standards. L'u. and some other beef and pork exporting countries who voted for the Codex position will apply pressure commensurate with their interests in the issue. That pressure will be counteracted to the extent feasible. L'u. has learned with beef exports and BSE that some middle ground is the only position viable for now. As conditions change, importadors probablement serà més còmodes amb les noves normes LMR.

Ross Korves és un analista de política econòmica de veritat sobre comerç i tecnologia.