Canada has overtaken the United States as the top North American supplier of pork to China, the biggest global market. Fred Katayama reports.
Canada has overtaken the United States as the top North American supplier of pork to China, the biggest global market. The big factor behind it: ractopamine, a growth drug banned in China. Canadian farmers almost completely removed it from their pigs' diet. By contrast, only about half of U.S.' herd has been weaned off the drug. U.S.-China Partners CEO, Savio Chan. (SOUNDBITE) SAVIO CHAN, CEO, U.S.-CHINA PARTNERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They've been preparing, and lobbying, and try to pay attention to the market in China because Chinese people eat more pork than anybody else in the world. We're only 1/5 of population, but we eat half the pork over the world. As Chinese people are getting more wealthy, and the economy is getting better, we eat more pork. And, in fact, in China meat is pork." But the trade balance could change. Major U.S.-based firms - such as Smithfield, Seaboard, and Triumph Foods - are now moving to produce more ractopamine-free hogs. China consumed 55 million tons of pork last year. Although that is the lowest total in four years, imports are rising fast. There is a void to fill. Millions of China's small-scale farmers have left the pork business in recent years because of falling prices and rising environmental standards.