WASHINGTON – The US Dept. of Agriculture reached an agreement with China that has ended import restrictions on pork produced at two plants in the United States. The agreement affects US plants that are participating in USDA’s Never Fed Beta Agonist program or a specifically developed, written ractopamine-free program. But China’s market for pork remains closed to companies that represent roughly half of US pork production.

The Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA created the Never Fed Beta Agonists program to verify and monitor companies’ ractopamine-free marketing claims.

Meat from Farmland Foods Inc.'s Monmouth, Ill. plant and Swift Pork Co. in Louisville has been cleared for export to China, Smithfield Packing Co.’s Tarheel, NC pork plant and Clemens Food Group have been exporting products.

Each lot of animals will be tested by the slaughter establishment and will be tracked from entry to the plant through issuance of export certificates and shipment to China, according to the Food Safety and Inspection Service website. A list of USDA-approved Never Fed Beta Agonists programs is available on the FSIS website.