The ban is being introduced following the feed additive ractopamine being found in some samples of beef, the Russian agricultural safety watchdog has said.

Ractopamine promotes muscle growth and is a derivative of angel dust. It is not registered for use in New Zealand, as well as around 160 other countries worldwide, including the EU, Russia and China.

The Russian agricultural safety watchdog has also announced that a ban on fish imports from New Zealand is being considered, following traces of mercury being found in some samples.

New Zealand is not included in the Russian trade embargo introduced in 2014 on western food imports, in retaliation for western countries imposing sanctions on Russia due to its involvement in conflict in Ukraine.


Export data from industry body Beef and Lamb NZ indicates that New Zealand exported 233 tonnes of beef to Russia in 2015/2016.

This means the Russian market remains relatively small, with 393,000 tonnes of beef exported from New Zealand last year. The country’s biggest export market for beef is the US, with it importing 196,000 tonnes in 2015/2016 according to Beef and Lamb NZ.

Russia imports around 600bn tonnes of beef each year mostly from Belarus, Brazil and Paraguay, USDA figures indicate.

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