June 22, 2021
Smithfield's North Carolina, US pork plant not eligible to export to Mexico
A Smithfield Foods pork plant in North Carolina, the United States, has been ineligible to export to Mexico since June 16, according to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.
Mexico has historically been the biggest export market for US pork by volume, although it was surpassed last year by China.
As a major buyer of hams, Mexico purchased about 708,00 tonnes of US pork, worth about US$1.3 billion, in 2019
The USDA did not provide a reason on its website for why Smithfield's plant in the town of Tar Heel became ineligible to ship pork to Mexico. An agency spokesperson had no immediate comment.
Being unable to export to Mexico from the facility "sounds more ominous than it is" for Smithfield, said Steve Meyer, an economist at Partners for Production Agriculture.
The company could ship pork to Mexico from a US facility other than Tar Heel if necessary, he said.
"I don't get real worried about one plant on a multi-plant firm, even though it's still not a good thing," Meyer added.
The Tar Heel plant can slaughter about 34,500 hogs a day, about 7% of total US slaughtering, according to industry estimates.