SMITHFIELD, Virginia – Smithfield Foods’ slaughterhouse in Virginia used to carve up pork for American sandwiches and holiday dinners. But workers now box up pig carcasses to ship to China, according to employees, local officials and industry sources.
The transformation at the Smithfield, Virginia, plant shows how the global meat industry is adapting to profit from African swine fever, a fatal pig disease that has killed millions of hogs in China and turned the world’s top pork consumer into a major meat importer.
Bought by China’s WH Group Ltd (0288.HK) six years ago for $4.7 billion, Smithfield Foods has retooled U.S. processing operations to direct meat to China, which produced half the world’s pork before swine fever decimated the industry.
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