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JBS to remove ractopamine from supply chain

US meat packer JBS USA will remove the feed additive ractopamine from its supply chain to increase export opportunities, the company announced on Friday (4 October), opening the door for increased pork sales to China.

8 October 2019, at 11:19am

Ractopamine, a feed additive proven to boost growth in pigs, is banned for use in any pork intended for importation into China and failure to comply with regulations surrounding this banned ingredient in the past has resulted in serious penalties. In June and July 2019, three Canadian exporters were been banned from selling any pork products to China and Beijing called for all Canadian meat imports to be suspended until compliance with import regulations were met. Following this, representatives from around 30 countries were invited to attend a meeting on 8 July (2019) in Beijing hosted by the Director General of the Import and Export Food Safety Bureau under China's General Administration of Customs. It is highly unusual for so many countries to be invited to such a briefing, which was indicative of the seriousness of the situation.

young pigs run down a race from one area to another

With China's hog herd decimated by African swine fever (ASF), its demand for imported pork is on the rise and this is only set to increase over the coming year while Chinese producers rebuild their herds. Such strict regulations surrounding ractopamine, a feed additive commonly used in North American hog herds, means that if US producers want to take advantage of the huge demand for pork in China and establish new trade, they have to remove the banned substance from their systems.

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Colorado-based JBS USA is the latest major packer to take the plunge and remove ractopamine from all production systems, now including all external farmers who sell livestock to JBS USA. The company is confident this decision will provide long-term benefits to producers and the industry.