Larry Pope, Smithfield CEO, said the plant will be converted by June 1 and that 50 percent of the company’s pork operations will be ractopamine-free. A product free of the feed additive gives Smithfield access to markets that are currently closed to the company’s competitors, he said.
Smithfield's Clinton, NC, plant has been ractopamine-free since 2012 and has been shipping pork from that plant since then. The company also announced in February that it was in the final stages of converting its Tar Heel, NC, plant to process ractopamine-free hogs to meet China's regulatory requirements. The Tar Heel plant is the world's largest pork processing facility. Combined, the two plants supply 43,000 ractopamine hogs per day, according to Smithfield. The hogs are sourced from company owned farms and contract producers. The animals are fed from feed mills that do not contain ractopamine.