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Food & Beverage

Swine fever dealt blow to China's pork king -- then came coronavirus

WH Group forced to rethink Sino-US supply strategy after one-two punch

Survivors of China's swine flu outbreak are seen in a Henan Province village in January.   © Reuters

DALIAN, China -- WH Group, the world's largest pork producer, is struggling to maintain steady production, with its cross-border supply chains in China and the U.S. undercut by separate epidemics affecting pigs and people.

The African swine fever sweeping through China took a toll on WH Group, wiping out one-fifth of the producer's pig stock last year. The Chinese company's supply has tightened further after five pork processing plants operated by U.S. subsidiary Smithfield Foods were forced to shut in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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