Tag Archives: Pork

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State University researchers are sweet on a recent study in which they found that naturally smoked sugar helps to extend the shelf life of frozen bacon.

They tested bacon that had been frozen for up to 120 days to find out whether adding an antioxidant – in this case, smoked sugar – could slow down the rate of oxidation, a natural process that leads to discoloring and an off-flavor to the meat.

The answer is clearly yes.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that if we’re going to have cured and cooked products that are frozen, such as ham or bacon or any of those types of products, we do need to have an antioxidant to help combat oxidation,” said K-State Research and Extension meat specialist Terry Houser.

Many consumers are familiar with meat that develops a grayish color and off-flavor when stored for too long in the freezer. This same thing happens to frozen bacon and other pork products after about 20-40 days, Houser said.

That’s a challenge for hotels, restaurants and other food service businesses, which often don’t receive bacon, in particular, until it’s already been packaged for 30-40 days.

“This also has implications for our small processors who freeze their bacon and sell it frozen,” Houser said. “It does not seem, unless we use a vacuum package, that we can get flavor shelf life much longer than 40 days on frozen bacon.”

But, he added, “when we added an antioxidant to these bacon formulations, it really extended our shelf life over the frozen storage period. In this case, we tested these products out to 120 days of frozen storage.”

Smoking meat – done by exposing it to smoke from burning sawdust, chips or other hardwood – has been known to help preserve many types of meat and give a certain flavor that is often sought by consumers.

What the smoking process does, says Houser, is deter the oxidation process, so the researchers looked to encourage that same process by using a commercially available smoked sugar and then adding it to bacon during the curing process.

K-State researchers injected smoked sugar into raw bellies during the curing process, packaged and froze them for a period of up to 120 days, and then used scientific methods and trained taste panels to verify the quality of the meat.

“All three of those tests gave us the same answer, and that’s always good in science,” Houser said. “We don’t usually like to rely on one testing method. When we can get all three of them to tell us the same answer, then we’re pretty confident in those results.”

Houser added that one benefit of adding an antioxidant such as smoked sugar to the formulation is that it penetrates deeper than smoking the product itself.

“When we smoke the entire belly, we only get a surface treatment on those products,” he said. “So whenever we can add an ingredient into that particular product such as the belly, we can get a lot more uniformity in terms of our ingredient contact with most of the fats in that product.”

Ultimately, it means better bacon more of the time for consumers, Houser said.

“When the quality of our products is better, everyone wins, and we definitely want consumers to have good eating experiences so that they are going to come back and buy more of that product,” he said.

Houser said smoked sugar adds another flavor profile that he suspects also will be pleasing to consumers. He noted that many compounds can be used as antioxidants, but K-State’s study was specific to smoked sugar.

China’s implementation of tariffs on U.S. products means U.S. pork faces a 62 percent tariff level. The National Pork Producers Council responded that U.S. pork farmers now face large financial losses and contraction because of escalating trade disputes, meaning “less income for pork producers and, ultimately, some of them going out of business.”

China announced a new 25 percent tariff in response to U.S. action under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. That tariff is on top of the 25 percent punitive duty levied by China in early April in response to U.S. action under Section 232 of The Trade Expansion Act. U.S. pork already had a 12 percent tariff on exports to China.

The country also has a 13 percent value-added tax on most agricultural imports. China represented 17 percent of total U.S. pork exports by value in 2017. NPPC President Jim Heimerl (Hi’-merle) added: “We need these trade disputes to end.”

U.S. beef exports set a new value record in May while also increasing significantly year-over-year in volume, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). May pork exports were lower than a year ago, though January-May totals for U.S. pork remained ahead of last year’s pace.

Beef export volume was 117,871 metric tons (mt) in May, the sixth-largest on record, valued at a remarkable $722.1 million, which surpassed the previous monthly high (March 2018) by a healthy 4 percent and was 24 percent higher than a year ago. Through the first five months of 2018, beef exports were up 10 percent in volume to 547,157 mt while export value was $3.32 billion, 21 percent above last year’s record pace.

Exports accounted for 13.6 percent of total beef production in May, up from 13 percent a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.1 percent, up from 10 percent last year. For January through May, exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total beef production and 10.9 percent for muscle cuts – up from 12.8 percent and 10 percent, respectively, last year.

Beef export value averaged $313.39 per head of fed slaughter in May, up 18 percent from a year ago. The January-May average was $317.69 per head, also up 18 percent.

Following a record performance in April, May pork export volume was 217,209 mt, down 2 percent from a year ago and reflecting smaller exports of variety meats. Export value was $562.5 million, down 3.5 percent. For January through May, pork export volume was still 3 percent ahead of last year’s record pace at 1.08 million mt, while value increased 6 percent to $2.85 billion.

Exports accounted for 27.8 percent of total pork production in May, down from 29.5 percent a year ago, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported fell about one percentage point to 24 percent. For January through May, the percentage of total production exported was slightly below last year at 27.5 percent, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased slightly to 23.7 percent.

May pork export value averaged $55.05 per head slaughtered, down 6 percent from a year ago. The January-May per-head average was $55.57, up 2 percent from last year.

Japan, Korea lead the way as global demand for U.S. beef continues to climb

Japan and South Korea continue to be the pacesetters for U.S. beef export growth. In May, export volume to Japan totaled 30,117 mt (up 19 percent from a year ago) valued at $196.8 million (up 22 percent and the highest since August 2017). Through May, exports to Japan were up 4 percent from a year ago in volume at 128,207 mt while value increased 13 percent to $822.9 million. This included a 6 percent increase in chilled beef volume to 61,178 mt, valued at $488 million (up 18 percent).

May exports to Korea were up 46 percent from a year ago in volume (20,781 mt) and jumped 64 percent in value to a record $146.2 million. For January through May, exports to Korea climbed 34 percent to 91,875 mt, valued at $647.3 million – 49 percent above last year’s record pace. Chilled beef exports to Korea totaled 20,365 mt (up 30 percent) valued at $196 million (up 41 percent).

“Despite the intense competition U.S. beef faces in Japan and Korea, these markets continue to display a terrific appetite for a growing range of cuts,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Beef items that are traditionally popular in Asia continue to perform and other items more suitable for thick-cut steaks and barbecue concepts are gaining more traction, resulting in exceptional growth opportunities. But the enthusiasm for U.S. beef extends well beyond these two leading markets, and that’s how exports have reached this record-breaking pace.”

For January through May, other highlights for U.S. beef include:

  • In Mexico, exports were up 4 percent in volume (98,900 mt) and 13 percent higher in value ($427.9 million). Mexico is a critical market for U.S. rounds, shoulder clods and other muscle cuts which are typically undervalued in the U.S. market. It is also the leading destination for U.S. beef variety meat exports, which increased 15 percent from a year ago in value ($98.9 million) despite a 2 percent decline in volume (43,479 mt).
  • Exports to China/Hong Kong increased 20 percent in volume (57,186 mt) and 47 percent in value to $442.2 million. May exports to China were the largest (834 mt) since the market opened in June of last year, pushing the January-May total to 3,133 mt valued at $28.7 million. However, effective July 6, China’s import duty rate on U.S. beef increased from 12 percent to 37 percent. The higher tariff will make it difficult for end-users to profitably utilize U.S. beef, especially with U.S. beef already priced at a premium compared to imports from other suppliers and with Australian beef subject to a duty of just 7.2 percent through the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
  • Coming off a record performance in 2017, beef exports to Taiwan continue to gain momentum. Exports were up 31 percent from a year ago in volume (22,127 mt) and 43 percent higher in value ($209.9 million). Chilled exports increased 39 percent in volume (9,272 mt) and 52 percent in value ($116 million), as U.S. beef captured 74 percent of Taiwan’s chilled beef market.
  • More reliable access to Indonesia has helped bolster beef exports to this promising market, with volume increasing 52 percent from a year ago to 6,247 mt and value nearly doubling to $28.7 million. Due in part to the United States successfully challenging Indonesia’s import restrictions at the World Trade Organization, U.S. beef now faces fewer obstacles and a more consistent regulatory environment. Indonesia’s strong performance and solid growth in the Philippines helped push exports to the ASEAN region 17 percent higher in volume (18,472 mt) and 28 percent higher in value ($102.4 million).
  • Led by strong growth in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama, exports to Central America jumped 21 percent in volume (5,436 mt) from a year ago and 22 percent in value ($30.6 million).

Pork exports still ahead of last year’s record pace, but will be tested by higher tariffs

Mexico’s retaliatory duties on U.S. pork took effect in June, so January-May results were not directly impacted. May exports to Mexico increased 3 percent from a year ago in volume (70,589 mt) but slipped 11 percent in value to $115.6 million. Through the first five months of 2018, exports to Mexico were 6 percent above last year’s record volume pace at 353,264 mt, with value up 2 percent to $621 million. On June 5, Mexico imposed a 10 percent duty on fresh/frozen pork muscle cuts from the United States, and the rate increased to 20 percent on July 5. Also in June, Mexico imposed a 15 percent duty on U.S. pork sausages and a 20 percent duty on some prepared hams (these rates did not increase July 5) and opened a duty-free quota aimed at attracting imports from non-U.S. suppliers.

Pork exports to the China/Hong Kong region were well below year-ago levels in May, due in part to the additional 25 percent tariff imposed by China on April 2 (the increase does not apply to product entering Hong Kong). May exports to China/Hong Kong were 34,191 mt, down 31 percent from a year ago, while export value dropped 25 percent to $79.9 million. For January through May, exports to China/Hong Kong were 18 percent below last year’s pace in volume (187,439 mt) and down 6 percent in value to $436.4 million. Exports to China will face an even steeper challenge in the second half of 2018, as China recently hiked the duty rate on U.S. pork by another 25 percent. This means U.S. pork cuts and pork variety meat entering China now face a duty rate of 62 percent, compared to 12 percent for China’s other suppliers, including the European Union, Brazil and Canada.

“It is unfortunate that U.S. pork is caught in the crosshairs of a dispute that has nothing to do with pork trade,” Halstrom said. “USMEF is focusing on the factors we can control by partnering with U.S. packers and exporters to make every effort to defend our market share and protect our business in Mexico and China. USMEF also consistently stresses the importance of diversifying our export markets and expanding U.S. pork’s footprint into emerging markets, and those efforts are more critical than ever.”

January-May highlights for U.S. pork include:

  • As an outstanding destination for U.S. pork for further processing and value-added items destined for the home meal replacement sector, exports to South Korea continue to achieve impressive growth. May exports climbed 44 percent from a year ago in volume (22,447 mt) and 47 percent in value ($64.4 million). For January through May, exports to Korea totaled 117,335 mt (up 44 percent), valued at $340.6 million (up 54 percent).
  • Exports to leading value market Japan were 1 percent below last year in volume (167,294 mt) and steady in value ($689.6 million). This included a 4 percent decrease in chilled pork, with value down slightly at $424 million.
  • Surging demand in Colombia and solid growth in Peru pushed pork exports to South America up 26 percent from a year ago in both volume (50,993 mt) and value ($125.4 million). Argentina officially opened to U.S. pork in April but it has taken some time for exporters to complete various regulatory processes. USMEF is optimistic that shipments to Argentina can begin soon.
  • Exports to Australia and New Zealand were up 8 percent in volume (36,184 mt) and were 11 percent higher in value ($107 million) as the United States has gained market share in Oceania, an increasingly important market for U.S. hams.
  • Led by strong year-over-year growth in Honduras, Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala, pork exports to Central America climbed 18 percent from a year ago in volume (33,590 mt) and 20 percent in value ($79.7 million). Coming off a record year in 2017, exports to all seven Central American nations achieved double-digit growth in the first five months of 2018.
  • Exports to the Dominican Republic, which were also record-large in 2017, increased 19 percent in both volume (19,102 mt) and value ($42.4 million) through May. For the Caribbean region, exports were up 13 percent in volume to 25,667 mt and 14 percent in value to $60.8 million.
  • With solid growth in the Philippines and Vietnam offsetting lower shipments to Singapore, pork exports to the ASEAN region increased 12 percent in volume (20,630 mt) and 24 percent in value ($57.4 million). Pork variety meat exports to the ASEAN, which are especially important when shipments to China are declining, increased 50 percent in volume (6,827 mt) and 58 percent in value ($12.5 million).

May lamb exports largest since 2015

Exports of U.S. lamb were 998 mt in May, up 57 percent from a year ago and the largest volume since December 2015. Export value was up 10 percent to $1.8 million. For January through May, exports increased 43 percent in volume (4,455 mt) and 15 percent in value ($9.1 million). While much of this growth was driven by larger variety meat exports to Mexico, muscle cut exports increased year-over-year to the Caribbean, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Complete export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics web page.

BEIJING (AP) — The United States hiked tariffs on Chinese imports Friday and Beijing announced it was retaliating against American goods in a technology dispute between the world’s two biggest economies that President Donald Trump says he is prepared to escalate.

Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports, a first step in what could become an accelerating series of tariffs.

Retaliatory measures “took effect immediately,” said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang. Hu gave no details, but the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily said the customs agency was carrying out a plan announced last month to impose 25 percent tariffs on a $34 billion list of American goods including soybeans, pork and electric cars.

Companies worry the spiraling dispute could chill global economic growth, but Asian financial markets took Friday’s developments in stride.

Japan’s main stock index, the Nikkei 225, gained 1.1 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.8 percent.

On Thursday, Trump said higher tariffs on an additional $16 billion in Chinese goods were set to take effect in two weeks. He spoke to reporters who flew with him to Montana for a campaign rally.

After that, the hostilities could intensify: Trump said the U.S. is ready to target an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports — and then $300 billion more — if Beijing does not yield to U.S. demands and continues to retaliate.

That would bring the total of targeted Chinese goods to potentially $550 billion — more than the $506 billion in goods that China shipped to the United States last year.

The Trump administration contends China has deployed predatory tactics in a push to overtake U.S. technological dominance. These tactics include cyber-theft and requiring American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to China’s market.

Chinese officials reject accusations of theft and say no foreign company is obligated to share technology. But rules on auto manufacturing and other industries require companies to work through state-owned partners, which forces them to share know-how with potential competitors.

The Commerce Ministry said Trump “ignited the biggest trade war in economic history.”

“The United States has blatantly violated WTO rules,” said Hu, the foreign ministry spokesman. “Any unilateral pressure will be futile.”

Washington has strained relations with potential allies in its dispute with Beijing by raising import duties on steel, aluminum and autos from Europe, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

Trump’s confrontational outlook applies to other trading partners as well as China, said Tai Hui, chief strategist for JP Morgan Asset Management, in a report.

“This is a potential concern for the outlook of corporate investment and consumption around world,” said Hui.

The official China Daily newspaper accused the Trump administration of “behaving like a gang of hoodlums.” It said they would damage the global economy unless other countries stop them.

“There should be no doubting Beijing’s resolve,” the newspaper said.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China appealed to both sides to negotiate a settlement.

“There are no winners in a trade war,” said the chamber’s chairman, William Zarit, in a statement. It said American companies want fairer treatment but will be hurt by U.S.-Chinese tensions.

“We urge the two governments to come back to the negotiation table,” said Zarit.