Mexican pork is carefully raised in a production environment surrounded by the beauty of nature. Sonora, Yucatan, Sinaloa, and Jalisco are the major Mexican pork-producing states. They have perfect locations for pig farming, blessed with warm weather and abundant water resources. High-quality pork is produced through the use of good feed, mainly wheat, through an integrated management system.
Ideal environment for pig farming less prone to outbreak of diseases and contamination
Sonora is located in the northwestern part of Mexico and is known for its dry weather. However, it di ers from the general image of a desert area.
Thanks to the natural underground water table comprised of snow- melt from the Sierra Madre Mountains, the water resource essential for pig farming is secure and the production of the grain used for stock-feed is also thriving. The dry natural environment makes it less prone to the outbreak of pathogens and therefore swine epidemics are also less likely to occur. The land is surrounded by mountains and the sea, and this prevents the entry of pathogens from other regions. Furthermore, farm animals, meats, and processed meat products from foreign countries and other states are strictly moni- tored to prevent infectious animal diseases from entering the area. Yucatan is located in the southern part of Mexico and is surround- ed by the ocean, providing an environment that is less prone to the outbreak of infectious animal diseases.
Sinaloa and Jalisco are also con rmed as states free of animal dis- eases such as FMD and swine cholera, etc. Moreover, transporta- tion of live animals is limited and controlled to prevent the entry of pathogens, and it is approved only between the states of Sonora, Yucatan, and Canada and USA.
Major pig farms in these 4 states are located in the countryside, iso- lated from urban areas. People and vehicles entering the farms are strictly monitored and there are communicable disease controls in place, thus providing an ideal and appropriate environment for pig farming and production.
Hybrid pig of triple crossbreed enables stable quality of Mexican Pork
The breed of pigs produced in these states is mainly a hybrid pig of triple crossbreed bred from superior breeding stock brought from Europe and the United States.
This hybrid pig is the most-advanced breed produced from many years of crossbreeding of several improved sires to produce high quality meat with high feed e ciency.
The genetic lines used are mainly Large White, Duroc, Landrace, and Yorkshire and the pigs are shipped for meat production when they are 27-29 weeks old. The meat quality of the hybrid pig is ho- mogeneous, and is consistent all year round, enabling stable sup- ply of quality pork at all times.
Sanitary condition and quality are controlled by three-stage site system
Major packers operate under a large-scale production system of integrated management (vertical integration), and the entire pro- duction process, from breeding, growing, fattening, meat process- ing to supplying the product is controlled under a consistent man- agement system.
At the pig farms, genetic material is controlled in-house, and the controlled supply of semen for breeding, piglet production, raising and fattening to supplying are all managed under a uni ed system. At almost all farms, a three-stage site system has been adopted. This is where pig housings are separated according to the three production stages of breeding, growing, and fattening. Separating the pig housing prevents diseases from spreading and entry of the infectious pathogens. With the three-stage site system, it is com- mon that composition of the feed is also controlled according to each stage.
In each farm, under the integrated management system, produc- tion and management of feed is also uni ed, with the feed blended either in-house or within the group. Content of the feed is uni ed according to the growth stages, for piglets, growing and fattening, which contributes to the consistent and stable production of pig weight, meat quality, and product quality.
Wheat, which produces avorful meat, is used for the feed
With its climatic and geographical advantages, the state of Sonora is a major producer of grains, mainly wheat which occupy the 40% of total production in Mexico. Thanks to the improvement of a spe- cies of wheat to be resistant to the heavily dry weather, an abundant supply of nongenetically-modi ed wheat is available. Sonora pro- vides an ideal production environment for the pork industry where abundant wheat is available as feed.
Also in Yucatan, Sinaloa and Jalisco mainly wheat, corn, and soybean are used for feeding. When the pork is grown with wheat, the color of the fat is whiter, and the lean meat is redder. This is why Mexican Pork is known for its distinctive qualities such as rich avor and juicy taste. These qual- ities make Mexican Pork a perfect t with the taste preferences of the Asian consumers.
Products exported to Asia are produced only in government-certified plants.
Mexican Pork products exported to Asia are produced only at TIF(*1) plants, which are plants certified by the Ministry of Agriculture, Ranching, Rural Development, Fisheries, and Food Supply (SAGARPA) and fulfill facility and equipment standards, as well as hygiene control and inspection standards. All these plants adopt the HACCP system (*2).
In addition, more plants have recently been adopting certification programs such as MEXICO SUPREME QUALITY (*3) (MEXICO CALIDAD SUPREMA, approved by the federal government), SSPF(*4) (Sonora Safe Pork Farms of Sonora State), and SQF (*5), an international safety and quality management system.
The federal government of Mexico grants TIF approval only to those plants that fulfill facility and equipment standards and hygiene and inspection control standards. The government has certified around 400 plants producing pork, with standards of strictness equivalent to those of the United States.
All MPEA packers that supply Mexican pork products to Asia have been granted TIF plant certifications. A federal government inspector (a veterinarian) is on duty full-time at each TIF plant and runs rigorous checks on safety and hygiene. The TIF plants are operated under control systems where facilities, equipment, and management also fulfill strict international standards.
HACCP is a certification program for safety, hygiene and quality control of meat products, and is becoming a world standard.
In this system, checkpoints are designated at each stage of operation, from receipt of the pigs to processing, storage, to dispatch of products, in order to prevent hazards and growth of microorganisms. At the same time, the checkpoints are designed to reduce risks through improvement of recording and storage.
MEXICO SUPREME QUALITY
MEXICO SUPREME QUALITY is a certification by federal government bodies, including SAGARPA, the Ministry of the Economy, and the Mexican Foreign Trade Bank (BANCOMEXT). It ensures that, from the production stage onward, export goods from Mexico meet overall requirements of safety and quality. This certification is evidence that the product meets Mexican federal government standards: Hygiene (safety), guaranteeing trust for safe products made in a safe, controlled system, starting with the overall production process and continuing through distribution, processing and packaging; Harmlessness, that the product is not harmful to the health of people; and Quality, guaranteeing excellence of quality, including color, taste, appearance, and condition.
In order to obtain the MEXICO SUPREME QUALITY approval, rigorous control system standards need to be met. For pork, these standards begin at the production farm, and apply to transportation, abattoirs (from dressed carcass to various cuts, value-added and special cuts), to packaging, packing, and product storage. In addition, products need to pass the inspection conducted by an independent certification body approved by the government.
MEXICO SUPREME QUALITY is given to farms, abattoirs, and plants.
Apart from the rigorous certification systems of safety and quality, there is an increasingly large number of producers obtaining certification provided independently by state governments.
SSPF was introduced by the Sonora state government in April 2000 and is a program that sets comprehensive regulations at farms. The standard of certification consists of 17 items regulating controls in detail, including hygiene control of pig farms, health control of pigs, hygiene and safety instructions for transport of pigs to the abattoir, and hygienic control of slaughtering and dressing. Technical competency, levels of pig farm operation and bio-security of pig farms, as well as use of medication for hogs, are also covered. Particularly, in relation to the standard for medication use for hogs, three levels of certificates are issued according to the duration of the use of antibiotics, leveraging the geographical advantage of Sonora State as being less prone to outbreaks of pathogens.
Similarly to MEXICO SUPREME QUALITY, SSPF is given to farms, abattoirs, and plants.
SQF Certification System
HACCP is a requisite to obtain the SQF Certification. This certification not only meets general requirements of safety and security, but also the social demands of environmental conservation, such as further improvement of quality and reduction of environmental burdens. Therefore, some MPEA member packers have adopted this certification.
Total integration and traceability
In their efforts to produce safe and secure products in all stages of the production cycle, many pig farms and MPEA packers producing Mexican Pork are adopting the total vertical integration system, which controls the entire cycle from breeding, raising, fattening, slaughtering and dressing, treatment and processing, processing of value-added products such as portion products, up to export.
Also, rigorous efforts are being made in terms of traceability, which enables tracing of the history of each product. The tracing system, established by farms, is able to provide data, including production and processing dates and information on the feeding of the animal.