By Vicki Needham - 02/19/13 09:31 PM EST
On Feb. 11, Russia announced its ban on U.S. meat imports over the feed additive ractopamine, which is approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration and the Codex Alimentarius Commission, an international organization that sets science-based food safety standards.
In a statement following that decision last week, Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas J. VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE said that Russia has "disregarded the extensive and expert scientific studies conducted by the international food safety standards body."
U.S. officials said Russia went ahead with the ban despite repeated requests to discuss the safety of ractopamine.
Russia joined the WTO in August after a nearly 19-year effort to join the trade group. Congress provided for permanent normal trade relations in December.
But the decision by lawmakers to tack on a human-rights provision that punishes Russian officials for their involvement in the death of whistleblower lawyer Sergei Magnitsky has, some trade experts say, led to political backlash from Russia.
Shortly after President Obama signed the legislation lawmakers in Moscow voted to ban U.S. families from adopting Russian children.