Smithfield Foods, Inc today said its "well positioned to meet rising demand for ractopamine-free pork," following recent announcements that China and Russia will require third party certification that pork exports are ractopamine-free. In a press release, Smithfield said that its Clinton, North Carolina plant has been 100% ractopamine-free since last year and has been regularly shipping product from that plant since that time. In addition, the company its largest pork processing facility in Tar Heel, North Carolina will be fully converted by March 1, 2013, "in time to comply with the new regulatory requirements from China."
"Combined, these two East Coast plants will supply the market with more than 43,000 ractopamine-free hogs per day. Hogs will be sourced from company-owned farms, as well as contract producers, and will be fed from feed mills that are entirely ractopamine-free," states the company.
C. Larry Pope, Smithfield president and chief executive officer said in regard to the new third party verification requirement, "We urge the U.S. government to work to quickly and decisively resolve this issue. We are in close contact with the U.S. Government to address this situation and our customers in China and Russia are also encouraging their respective governments to develop a protocol with the U.S. Government that is acceptable to all parties."