Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced that it has entered into an agreement with a major Chinese trading company for the purchase of 60 million lb. of ractopamine-free pork for delivery by the end of December.

“We are very pleased to begin a business relationship with this trading company in the Chinese market,” says C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer.

“Although our agreement is modest, we believe there could be additional purchases and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of a longer-term and growing association. This is a milestone for Smithfield in terms of our business alliances in China and represents another step in our global expansion,” he adds.

With sales of $12 billion, Smithfield is the leading processor and marketer of fresh pork and processed meats in the United States, as well as the largest producer of hogs. For more information, visit the Smithfield Foods website.

China has delisted 11 U.S. pork plants over concerns about trace levels of ractopamine. The feed additive, Paylean, produced by Elanco Animal Health, contains ractopamine hydrochloride. Paylean has been approved for use in swine in 24 countries.