RUSSIAN Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, Rosselkhoznadzor, published a news item about their concern about regular detections of trenbolone (a steroid growth promoter) in Australian beef, on March 21, 2014.
The Russians claim the substance is banned in Russia and other CIS member states.
According to Rosselkhoznadzor, concern over the matter led the Russians to initiate telephone negotiations with Australia’s Ministry of Agriculture (DAFF) two weeks ago where it was suggested that Australia should carry out urgent internal investigations into its systems to ensure non-application of trenbolone and equivalent substances.
Rosselkhoznadzor also claim to have advised Australian officials that they believed it was reasonable to impose restrictions on import of beef from Australia.
On March 27, US red meat processor media website Meatingplace picked up on the Australian trenbolone issue and reported on an interview given by Sergei Dankvert, head of Rosselkhoznadzor to Moscow independent news agency Interfax.
Mr Dankvert was quoted as saying that Russia will most likely levy an embargo on all chilled beef from Australia beginning March 31.
Meatingplace went on to describe Russian authorities detecting 32 cases of the steroid in Australian beef in 2013 and a Russian embargo on all Australian beef offal coming into effect in January 2014 due to the presence of trenbolone.
The DAFF spokesperson said that following Russian notification of a recent detection of the hormonal growth promotant trenbolone in a beef consignment, the department has been in contact with Russian authorities to provide information and assurances that beef exported to Russia under new measures implemented from December 20, 2013, is free from hormonal growth promotants.
He added that the department investigates, as a priority, any claims made that Australian beef exports to Russia do not meet Russia’s requirements.
DAFF’s investigation found no evidence of the use of trenbolone in the cattle processed for the consignment in question.
A detailed report to Russian authorities has been submitted to outline the findings of this investigation.