Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 2013 Farm to Market Conference Tuesday, Smithfield Foods CEO and President C. Larry Pope confirmed the company’s intent to take half its hogs off the feed additive ractopamine.
“We have two of our plants, which represent 43,000 hogs a day, a little over 10% of the industry, that we can ship into China and are shipping into China every day. On June 1, we will convert our third plant, and over 50% of our operations will have no ractopamine as part of their feed rations,” Pope says.
The move has been in response to the need to supply ractopamine-free pork to export customers. Earlier in the year, China and Russia announced it would require third party vertification for pork exports that are ractopamine-free. Smithfield leads the industry in production of ractopamine-free pork.
“As the largest hog producer in the world, Smithfield is uniquely positioned to deliver differentiated products to meet customer specifications – both domestically and abroad. Our business model facilitates responsiveness and insight into customer and consumer needs that are unmatched in our industry. This is a key point of difference and unique selling proposition for our products and brands,” he said.
Ractopamine is a safe and effective FDA-approved feed supplement that has been used in hog production for many years to produce leaner pork. Smithfield acknowledges its wide use but is leveraging its integrated platform to address the growing demand for ractopamine-free pork, primarily in export markets.
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