Hormel has announced it is joining several other U.S. pork processors and will be going "ractopamine-free" to capitalize on China's pork shortage due to African swine fever. Ractopamine, a feed ingredient that helps increase the amount of lean meat in hogs, is Food and Drug Administration-approved and considered safe for use, however some countries such as China prohibit the import of pork from hogs that have been given the product.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the company says they informed their network of independent farms and suppliers that they will no longer be accepting any supply that has been fed or exposed to ractopamine as of April 1.
"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," the statement continues.
In October, Tyson Fresh Meats and JBS USA announced they were removing the drug from their supply chains to capture demand from the world's largest pork consumer. Smithfield Foods, which is owned by Chinese company WH Group and is the largest U.S. pork processing company, has already eliminated ractopamine from its whole supply chain.