The Empire That is Smithfield Foods
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
Pigs, Hogs, and Boars - What’s The Difference
Pig refers to domestic and wild animals, with sixteen species regarded as a pig. A Hog is a domestic pig that weighs over 120 pounds. However, a Boar is a wild pig or a male pig that is not neutered (also called a boar-intact). Pigs, hogs, and boars are types of swine; they fall into the pig family, scientifically referred to as the Suidae family.
A Pigs Life
The gestation period is roughly four months, and gilts (young female pigs) are bred at 170 to 220 days old. Once they deliver their first litter of piglets, gilts are considered sows. For three weeks, sows are often kept in crates for the farrowing process. This is when the piglets are nursed while their mother is behind a barrier of bars. Once the piglets are weaned off their mothers, they are kept in separate barns for 6 to 8 weeks, in which they are fed a special diet to fatten them up quickly. In the finishing stage, pigs are transported to the processing plant to be slaughtered.
Upon arrival at the processing plant, they are fed copious amounts of corn until around 280 lb, which is considered market weight. Pigs are slaughtered at six months when the standard lifespan of a commercial pig is about 20 years.
Are Pigs Slaughtered Humanely?
According to the Food Safety and Inspection Services branch of the Department of Agriculture, there are several options to choose from when slaughtering the animals. Slaughterhouses may use:
The Empire That is Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is the largest meat producer in the United States. Its corporate family is so large that it is almost impossible to find a complete list of the corporation’s brands and subsidiaries.
Family Pedigree - The Shuanghui Group was set up and developed by the local Luohe City Government in 1958 to help streamline the production and availability of pork products to the growing population. In 1984, the company transitioned from a single-location food distributor to what would become the largest food producer in China. In 1992 the Shuanghui Group formed a joint venture with 16 institutional investors from six countries known as Shuanghui International.
In 2006, the Luohe government sold its ownership share in Shuanghui to an investment partnership led by U.S.-based Goldman Sachs. Soon after that, Goldman Sachs sold most of its ownership to other investors, keeping a minority stake for itself. At this time, Shuanghui International was China's most prominent food processor. In 2009, with the help of Sachs, the company began talks to buy America’s largest meat producer, Smithfield Foods.
On May 29, 2013, Shuanghui announced it had made a $4.72 billion bid to purchase Smithfield Foods. Note: the purchase price was 31% more than the corporation’s market value at the announcement.
Note: The WH Group is also known as Shineway Group in English-speaking countries. It is the largest pork producer globally and the largest meat producer in China.
Smithfield's headquarters is in Smithfield, Virginia. Smithfield's parent company has been WH Group Limited since Jul 2013.
200 Commerce Street
The company has facilities in Mexico, Poland, Romania, Germany, and the United Kingdom outside the US. The company is the largest pig and pork producer in the world.
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