Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today regarding the Codex Alimentarius Commission's adoption of standards for ractopamine on July 5th:
"After five years of hard work by the Codex Commission, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and our federal agency partners, the United States welcomes the Commission's adoption of standards for the veterinary drug ractopamine. This action by Codex affirms the pre-eminent role of science in setting international standards for food safety.
"Currently, American producers face trade restrictions due to unjustified bans on the use of ractopamine, which has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and used safely in the United States for 12 years as well as 25 other countries. These standards provide clear guidance to countries about safe use of ractopamine, which promotes lean meat production.
"Codex is an inter-governmental body created by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization of the United Nations, and is recognized as the international standards setting body for food safety by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Establishment of international standards for veterinary drugs like ractopamine are important since many countries rely on science-based food standards to ensure that the food they are importing is safe. U.S. agricultural exporters benefit and consumers worldwide benefit when countries adopt international standards.
"Consumers can rest assured that their food is safe, and exporters have greater certainty about the criteria they must meet in the international marketplace."