Frequently Asked Questions

Learn More About Smithfield Bioscience

First and foremost, Smithfield Foods is a food company. We take great pride in producing “Good Food. Responsibly.” ® Part of that responsibility is making sure we utilize the entire animal and minimize waste. There are many parts of the animal that are not typically eaten. However, we have found valuable uses for these parts such as supplying them to the medical community.

The ability to trace ingredients used in production medical products is vital to the industry. As the world’s largest producer of pork, Smithfield raises hogs on approximately 500 company-owned farms. In addition, we contract with approximately 2,100 farms that raise company-owned hogs, and we purchase hogs from a large number of independent producers.

There are striking similarities between hogs and humans, especially as it relates to our DNA and digestive tracts. As a result, hog byproducts have been used for years in various medical procedures. For example, mucosa from the hog’s intestine is used in the production of heparin, a blood thinner that prevents clotting during surgery.

Smithfield currently supplies mucosa. Mucosa is found in a hog’s intestine and is used to create Heparin. Heparin is a drug used to treat and prevent blood clots in the veins, arteries or lungs.

At this stage, Smithfield will not be performing research for human testing. Instead, Smithfield will serve as a raw material resource and partner for organizations looking to explore technologies in this space.

Although scientists are still in the infancy stages of understanding all the uses for porcine sources in improving human health, they are exploring a variety of organ and skin transplant solutions to minimize human donation rejections and alleviate organ shortages that are seen worldwide. In addition, scientists are exploring how various porcine organs can be leveraged in nutraceuticals.

Smithfield is currently looking at a variety of technologies that utilize porcine organs. Today, Smithfield can sell pancreases and thyroid glands for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical uses. Down the road, we will be exploring the use of all major organs and skin.

Organizations tend to focus heavily on areas and activities that are in their direct space and control. For example, Smithfield Foods has long maintained a focus on quality, and will continue to do so. The same is true of research organizations. By working together, we can better understand each other’s needs and capabilities, thereby moving forward more effectively.

The goal of Smithfield’s partnership with the DOD is to save lives. Using the technologies that are going to be developed with partners in the consortium, we will be able provide a medical solution for a variety of traumatic events. Smithfield Foods is passionate about the military community and expects that the resulting technologies developed will benefit active and retired military personnel.

Smithfield Bioscience is not directly involved in organ transplantation, but simply supplies the raw materials to these organizations that are exploring new methods and technologies in this space.

Since scientists are in the infancy stages of exploring the use of hogs within human transplantation, we recommend you talk to your health care provider to discuss the specific options currently available to you.

Smithfield Bioscience leverages the vertical integration and geographic prominence of Smithfield Foods’ global operations, enabling it to provide raw materials to virtually anyone, anywhere, at any time. Vertical integration is key to traceability of product, which is vital to the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Also unique to Smithfield Bioscience are on-site testing labs and in-house specialists who are trained to harvest tissues and organs precisely to customer specifications. Smithfield Foods’ hog production and precision genetics capabilities further set it apart from all other raw material providers in this industry.

The Smithfield Bioscience team has extensive experience in extracting APIs from porcine tissues, and has the ability to certify strength, quality, and purity of APIs. Smithfield Bioscience’s dedicated R&D and regulatory teams can also work alongside our partners to support API development and assist with FDA-required approvals.

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