DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. – Starting in February, Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., will prohibit the use of ractopamine in the hogs it purchases from farmers. Ractopamine is a feed ingredient that helps increase the amount of lean meat in hogs.

“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.

Ractopamine is FDA-approved and considered safe for use, however, some countries including China will not import pork from hogs that have been given the product. Tyson Fresh Meats has been offering a limited amount of ractopamine-free pork to its export customers but the demand for such products has grown.

Most of the hogs delivered to Tyson’s pork plants are purchased from 2,000 independent farmers. The farmers were notified of the change in policy Oct. 16 and will have until Feb. 4, 2020, to meet Tyson’s new requirements.

Tyson Fresh Meats generates almost $1 billion in pork export sales annually.