Smithfield Foods says that it will soon raise half of its hogs on feed that does not contain the additive ractopamine, which has been banned in countries like China and Russia. Two Smithfield plants, which handle 43,000 hogs a day or about 10 percent of the U.S. industry, already are ractopamine-free, Chief Executive Larry Pope said at the BMO Capital Markets Farm to Market Conference in New York, Reuters reports.

A third plant will be converted to be ractopamine free on June 1. When that happens, "over 50 percent of our operations will have no ractopamine as part of their feed rations," Pope said.

Earlier this year, Russia announced it was banning all meat imports that were not certified ractopamine free. China also announced that it wanted all U.S. pork imports to be certified ractopamine-free by March 1. At the time, Smithfield said that it was in the process of converting its Tar Heel, N.C., plant to meet China’s requirements.

Source: Reuters