U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) officials have confirmed the Feb. 11 deadline for a Russian ban of both chilled and frozen U.S. beef and pork exports to that country.

USMEF sources indicate that a few days ago Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service notified USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service that it was considering no longer accepting any meat and meat products from U.S. packing plants after Feb. 10 – unless FSIS took action soon to ensure that exports are free of ractopamine residues.

In its latest report on exports, USMEF indicated that Russia was in the top pork markets for November 2012, with sales up 100% in volume and 78.7% in value.

Nick Giordano, trade expert with the National Pork Producers Council, says the organization is “coordinating very closely with others in the pork and beef sectors and with the U.S. government” in regards to this matter.

Giordano says a number of options are under consideration but that obviously, “it is a serious situation and NPPC is deeply involved.”

Dermot Hayes, economics professor at Iowa State University, projects that U.S. meat exports to Russia will fall by at least 50% because U.S. packers won’t find it profitable to set up ractopamine-free production lines and processing plants.

Elanco Animal Health produces a feed additive brand of ractopamine hydrochloride sold as Paylean. The product is also referred to as a repartitioning agent that takes nutrients away from fat deposition and puts or directs them toward lean tissue (muscle) accretion. It is labeled for use in pigs weighing 150 to 240 lb., fed for an average of 28 days and has no withdrawal period.

Paylean is approved in 26 countries worldwide.