Shuanghui to import more 'clean' pork from new Smithfield unit
US pig farmer will supply more meat free of controversial additive
Shuanghui International, China’s largest meat processor, plans to import more pork from pigs not fed ractopamine, a controversial food additive, from its new unit Smithfield Foods, the biggest pig farmer in the United States, executives said on Thursday.
Shuanghui received clearance last month US authorities for the US$4.7 billion acquisition, the biggest of a US company by a Chinese firm.
Wan Long, chairman of Shuanghui, said at a media briefing that the mainland firm plans to boost the production capability of its low-temperature products – including sliced ham and spiral hams – to two million tonnes of packaged meat next year from 1.8 million tonnes this year.
He said Shuanghui will leverage Smithfield’s technology in processing food and its know-how in food-safety improvement and production efficiency.
Mainland China has struggled with food safety issues for years, ranging from melamine-tainted milk powder to the use of the controversial growth-promoting food additive ractopamine with animals to be slaughtered for their meat.
As demand for quality meat rises in China, the takeover combines Shuanghui’s strength – its sales and distribution channels on the mainland – with a supply of raw meat from its counterpart in the US, where the demand for pork is decreasing.
Shuanghui will pay US$34 per share to Smithfield, a 30 per cent premium to the price of the US firm’s publicly traded shares before the deal was announced.