Russia’s ban on U.S. pork and beef that contain ractopamine went into effect this week.  Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, called on Russia to end its unscientific ban on U.S. meat exports.  He said, “Now that Russia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it must play by the rules and base its import standards on sound science.”  In a strongly worded statement, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk called on Russia to restore access for U.S. meat and meat products.  They said, “The United States is very disappointed that Russia has taken action to suspend all imports of U.S. meat, which is produced to the highest safety standards in the world. Russia has disregarded the extensive and expert scientific studies conducted by the international food safety standards body, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), which has repeatedly concluded that animal feed containing the additive ractopamine is completely safe for livestock and for humans that consume their meat. Russia's failure to adopt the Codex standard raises questions about its commitment to the global trading system. Despite repeated U.S. requests to discuss the safety of ractopamine, Russia has refused to engage in any constructive dialogue and instead has simply suspended U.S. meat imports. The United States calls on Russia to restore market access for U.S. meat and meat products immediately and to abide by its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization."   Codex, the international body that sets international standards for food safety, approved ractopamine last summer.