October 21, 2019
Tyson to help meet growing demand for US pork by prohibiting ractopamine use
In an effort to meet growing global demand for US pork, Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., announced on October 17 plans to prohibit the use of ractopamine in the market hogs it buys from farmers beginning in February 2020.
Ractopamine is a feed ingredient that helps increase the amount of lean meat in hogs. While it is FDA-approved and considered safe for use, some countries such as China prohibit the import of pork from hogs that have been given the product.
Tyson Fresh Meats has been offering a limited amount of ractopamine-free pork to export customers by working with farmers who raise hogs without it, and by segregating the animals and products at processing plants. However, these programmes no longer adequately meet growing global demand.
"We believe the move to prohibit ractopamine use will allow Tyson Fresh Meats and the farmers who supply us to compete more effectively for export opportunities in even more countries," said Steve Stouffer, president of Tyson Fresh Meats.
Most of the hogs delivered to the company's pork plants are purchased from about 2,000 independent farmers.
Farmers were notified of the change this month and have until February 4, 2020, to meet the new requirement. The company plans to work with them over the next several months to begin the process of testing hogs to ensure they are ractopamine-free.
Tyson Fresh Meats is the largest American-owned pork processor and generates almost US$1 billion in pork export sales annually.