Tyson prohibits ractopamine use to meet pork demand

Tyson prohibits ractopamine use to meet pork demand
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Mirek Kijewski

Tyson Foods, the largest US-owned pork processor, is prohibiting the use of ractopamine to help meet growing demand for US pork.

Beginning February 2020, Tyson Fresh Meats – the processor’s beef and pork subsidiary – will prohibit the use of ractopamine in the market hogs it buys from farmers.

Ractopamine is a feed ingredient that helps increase the amount of lean meat in hogs. While it is FDA-approved and considered safe for use, some countries such as China prohibit the import of pork from hogs that have been given the product.

Tyson Fresh Meats has been offering a limited amount of ractopamine-free pork to export customers by working with farmers who raise hogs without it, and by segregating the animals and products at processing plants. However, these programs no longer adequately meet growing global demand.

“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.

Most of the hogs delivered to the company’s pork plants are purchased from about 2,000 independent farmers. Farmers have until February 4, 2020 to meet the new requirement.