AUSTIN, Minn. – Hormel Foods Corp. announced recently that it is joining other US pork producers in eliminating ractopamine in its supply chain.

“We can confirm that we have informed our network of independent farms and suppliers that we will no longer be accepting any supply that have been fed or exposed to ractopamine as of April 1, 2020,” the company said in a statement.

Ractopamine is a feed ingredient used to promote leanness in pork and beef. Use of ractopamine was controversial as studies pointing to detrimental health effects emerged. It is banned by China, Russia, the European Union and some other countries.

Many companies are working to remove ractopamine to meet the demand from China. The country continues to buy pork from the US since the African Swine Fever decimated the country’s pork supply.

“We have been actively monitoring the changing global market dynamics for several years and believe this decision will further position us to meet growing international demand,” Hormel said.

JBS USA removed ractopamine from its processors during October 2019. 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. 

Smithfield Foods started phasing out ractopamine in 2013.