As Meat Plants Stayed Open to Feed Americans, Exports to China Surged

美国肉厂警告国内“肉荒”,对华出口却有增无减

纽约时报双语版-美国肉厂警告国内“肉荒”,对华出口却有增无减

4月,约11.7万吨美国生产的猪肉被运往中国。
Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

Smithfield Foods was the first company to warn in April that the coronavirus pandemic was pushing the United States “perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply.” Tyson Foods also sounded the alarm, saying that “millions of pounds of meat will disappear” from the nation’s supply chain as plants were being forced to close because of outbreaks.

史密斯菲尔德食品公司(Smithfield Foods)是第一家在4月发出警告的公司,称新冠病毒疫情正使美国“在我们的肉类供应方面处于危险的边缘”。泰森食品(Tyson Foods)公司也敲响警钟,称工厂由于疫情暴发而关闭,国内供应链“将有数百万磅的肉消失”。

That same month, Smithfield sent China 9,170 tons of pork, one of its highest monthly export totals to that market in the past three years. Tyson exported 1,289 tons of pork to China, the most since January 2017.

同月,史密斯菲尔德向中国出口了9170吨猪肉,这是该公司过去三年中向这里出口量最高的一个月。泰森向中国出口了1289吨猪肉,为2017年1月以来的最高。

In all, a record amount of the pork produced in the United States — 129,000 tons — was exported to China in April.

4月,出口到中国的美国产猪肉总量达到创纪录的12.9万吨。

The data compiled by Panjiva, the supply chain research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence, and the Department of Agriculture is potentially embarrassing for an industry that trumpeted its role in feeding the American public to argue to keep plants operating during the pandemic. Although some meat companies say much of their exported pork was produced before the outbreak, even previously processed meat could have stocked shelves in April and May.

该数据由标准普尔全球市场情报公司供应链研究部门磐聚网(Panjiva)和农业部收集。为了在疫情期间维持工厂的运转,肉品产业鼓吹其在美国民生中的重要供给作用,而这样的数据可能会使其尴尬。尽管一些肉类公司称其大部分出口猪肉是在疫情暴发前生产的,但即使是以前加工的肉品,也本可以在4月和5月上架。

After slaughterhouses in several states were closed when thousands of workers tested positive and dozens died, the industry publicly lobbied the Trump administration to intervene with state and local officials or risk major meat shortages across American grocery stores. Indeed, some retailers put limits on the amount of meat customers could buy, and the fast-food chain Wendy’s, at one point, ran low on hamburger.

多个州的屠宰场关闭,上千工人病毒检测呈阳性,数十人死亡,该行业公开游说特朗普政府干预州和地方官员,否则将面临美国食品店中肉类严重短缺的危险。一些零售商的确限制了顾客可以购买的肉类数量,快餐连锁店温迪(Wendy’s)一度出现汉堡供应短缺。

But the meatpackers, including Smithfield, which China’s largest pork producer bought in 2013, did not emphasize, at least not publicly, that keeping the plants open would also protect their long-term investments in exporting to a country that is vital to their growth.

但是肉类加工厂——包括中国最大的猪肉生产商在2013年收购的史密斯菲尔德——至少并未公开强调,保持工厂开放也将保护他们向一个国家出口的长期投资,这些出口对他们的增长至关重要。

Analysts say the meat shortages have subsided, with most plants having reopened, though many are still operating at slower speeds. As some meat companies continue to test their workers, they are still discovering positive cases. So far, 25,523 meatpacking workers have tested positive and 89 have died, according to the Food & Environment Reporting Network, which has been tracking the outbreak.

分析人士说,肉类短缺现象已经缓解,大多数工厂已经重新启动,尽管许多工厂仍以较低的速度运转。随着一些肉类公司继续对其工人进行检测,阳性病例仍然在出现。据追踪疫情的食品与环境报道网络(Food & Environment Reporting Network)称,到目前为止,有25523名包装肉类的工人的检测结果呈阳性,89人死亡。

After decades of relatively stagnant pork consumption in the United States and a recent thaw in the trade war with China, this was the year that the pork exports were set to take off.

在美国猪肉消费数十年的相对停滞以及最近与中国的贸易战的缓解之后,今年猪肉出口有望开始上涨。

“The meat companies were saying the sky was falling, and it really wasn’t,” said Tony Corbo, a senior lobbyist at Food & Water Watch, a consumer and environmental watchdog group. “It wasn’t that there was not enough supply. It was that the supply was being sent abroad.”

“肉类公司说的好像天要塌下来了,但实际上并非如此,”消费者和环境监督组织“食品与水观察”(Food and Water Watch)的资深说客托尼·科尔博(Tony Corbo)说。“并不是没有足够的供应。而是供应被送到国外了。”

The industry stands by its warnings about shortages and the need to keep the plants operating.

该行业坚持其关于短缺和需要保持工厂运转的警告。

“As long as our nation’s harvest facilities continue to operate, not only do we have enough meat to feed Americans, but also to feed the world,” Smithfield said in a statement.

史密斯菲尔德公司在一份声明中说:“只要我们国家的粮食工厂继续运转,我们就不仅有足够的肉来养活美国人,而且还能养活世界。”

Smithfield said the meat it exported in April “was actually ordered and processed in the months prior to Covid-19.”

史密斯菲尔德公司说,4月出口的肉“实际上是在Covid-19之前的几个月订购和加工的”。

The company added that “much of what is exported are items that attract little or no interest from domestic consumers,” such as the pigs’ feet, snouts and tails, and that exports had declined as production slowed amid the pandemic.

该公司补充说,“出口的大部分产品是国内消费者没有太多兴趣或完全不感兴趣的”,例如猪脚、猪鼻和猪尾巴,而且出口随着疫情期间生产速度下降而下降。

Tyson said pork exports to China had amounted to about 3 percent of its total production since October. “In recent months, we’ve prioritized supplying meat to the U.S. domestic market and have voluntarily curtailed shipping those pork export items that are also used by domestic consumers to try to meet U.S. demand,” the company added.

泰森公司说,自十月以来,对中国的猪肉出口约占其总产量的3%。该公司还说:“近几个月来,我们优先考虑向美国国内市场供应肉类,并且,对于国内消费者也会使用的猪肉产品,我们主动减少出口量以满足美国的需求。”

纽约时报双语版-美国肉厂警告国内“肉荒”,对华出口却有增无减

泰森食品最大的猪肉工厂位于爱荷华州的滑铁卢。
Daniel Acker for The New York Times

Before the pandemic took hold, the U.S. pork industry had been undergoing a major expansion. Large new slaughterhouses across the Midwest contributed to a 12 percent increase in pork processing between 2017 and 2019, federal government figures show. Farmers also enlarged their herds and even invested in building giant packing plants to process their pigs.

大流行之前,美国的猪肉行业一直在大规模扩张。联邦政府数据显示,2017年至2019年,中西部地区新建的大型屠宰场使猪肉产量增长了12%。农民们也扩大了畜群,甚至投资建造巨大的工厂进行猪肉加工。

In 2017, a venture involving five large Midwestern pig farmers built a nearly one-million-square-foot, $335 million pork plant in Sioux City, Iowa, which started processing three million pigs a year. A year later, the company, Seaboard Triumph, added a second shift, doubling its annual output to six million pigs. To fully staff the plant, Seaboard Triumph recruited workers from as far as Micronesia.

2017年,一家由中西部五家大型生猪养殖场组成的企业耗资3.35亿美元,在艾奥瓦州苏城建造了一座占地近100万平方英尺的猪肉加工厂,开始每年加工300万头猪。一年后,这家名为“海岸胜利”(Seaboard Triumph)的公司增加了第二个班次,使年产量翻了一番,达到600万头。为了给工厂配备足够的员工,“海岸胜利”的招工范围远及密克罗尼西亚。

All of this expansion was taking place even though pork consumption in the United States has stayed relatively flat since the early 1980s. China, which consumes half the world’s pork, has long loomed as a big opportunity for American meat companies.

这些增长是在美国猪肉消费自1980年代初以来一直保持相对平稳的情况下发生的。中国的猪肉消费量占世界的一半,长期以来一直被视为美国肉制品公司的巨大机遇。

“We are talking record pork production last year and the year before that,” said Dennis Smith, a livestock analyst at Archer Financial Services. “The producers need exports.”

“我们说的是去年和前年创纪录的猪肉产量,”阿彻金融服务公司(Archer Financial Services)的畜牧业分析师丹尼斯·史密斯(Dennis Smith)说。“生产商需要出口。”

When China’s largest pork producer, W.H. Group, bought Smithfield, critics worried that the deal gave a Chinese company too much control over the American pork supply.

当中国最大的猪肉生产商万洲国际有限公司收购史密斯菲尔德时,批评人士担心,这笔交易会让一家中国公司对美国猪肉供应拥有太多控制权。

Some U.S. officials wanted to block the deal with W.H. But the $4.7 billion deal eventually went through.

一些美国官员想阻止与万洲的交易,但这笔47亿美元的买卖最终还是获得通过。

纽约时报双语版-美国肉厂警告国内“肉荒”,对华出口却有增无减

2013年,史密斯菲尔德食品公司被中国最大的猪肉生产商双汇国际——现称万洲国际——收购。
Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Until recently, China had been largely self-sufficient in pork. That changed after African swine fever started decimating its pig population in 2018.

直到前不久,中国的猪肉供应基本上是自给自足的。这种情况在2018年非洲猪瘟破坏其猪只数量后发生了改变。

The trade war between the United States and China slowed pork exports. But by this winter, many of the tariffs had been reduced, and the American industry’s big bet on exports “started looking really smart,” Mr. Smith said.

中美贸易战减缓了猪肉出口。但到了今年冬天,许多关税已经降低,美国猪肉行业在出口方面所投入的巨大赌注,“现在看起来非常明智,”史密斯说。

The pork that is sent to China is often more profitable. In some cases, Chinese buyers import large portions of the pig carcasses, which require less labor to process and result in a higher margin for the meatpackers.

运往中国的猪肉往往利润更加丰厚。在某些情况下,中国买家会进口大量屠体猪肉,这样加工所需的劳动力更少,从而给肉类加工厂带来更高的利润。

China had also started to shape how American pigs are raised. Recently, large producers like Tyson said they would no longer process pigs that were fed ractopamine, a feed additive that allows them to gain muscle while eating less grain. Most pigs in the United States had been raised on the drug, but China bans it.

中国也开始影响美国猪的饲养方式。最近,泰森等大型生产商表示,他们将不再加工喂了莱克多巴胺的猪,这是一种饲料添加剂,能让猪在进食较少谷物的情况下增加肌肉。美国的大多数猪都被饲喂这种药物,但中国禁止使用它。

Pork producers typically send 25 to 27 percent of their meat overseas, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. But that number jumped to 32 percent in the first four months of this year, driven by demand from China.

根据美国肉类出口联合会(U.S. Meat Export Federation)的数据,猪肉生产商通常将25%到27%的肉类出口到海外。但在今年前四个月,受中国需求的推动,这一数字跃升至32%。

Last week, the Department of Agriculture reported that total pork exports to mainland China in April reached their highest monthly total since the agency began keeping track 20 years ago. Overall pork exports increased 22 percent from the previous April, to 291,000 tons, though that was down from March.

上周,农业部报告称,4月份对中国大陆的猪肉出口总额达到了该机构20年前开始跟踪该数据以来的最高月度水平。猪肉出口总量较去年4月增长了22%,达到29.1万吨,尽管比今年3月有所下降。

While the companies emphasize that exports to China include feet, tails and other parts most American don’t eat, about 40 percent of the April exports were whole carcasses. Some analysts believe those totals could be even larger. Meatpackers are notoriously secretive, and it’s unclear how many of the nation’s plants are designed to ship carcasses to China.

虽然这些公司强调,出口到中国的猪包括猪蹄、尾巴和大多数美国人不吃的其他部位,但4月份的出口中,约有40%是整猪屠体。一些分析人士认为这一数字可能更大。众所周知,肉类加工厂总是遮遮掩掩,目前还不清楚全国有多少工厂是专门用来生产销往中国的猪屠体。

“Some of the plants would be companies that maybe own five or six pork plants, and they said in one of our small plants, we’re just going to do carcasses for China,” said Brett Stuart, the president of the consulting firm Global AgriTrends. “I don’t think any of them have really reported what they’ve done.”

“一些公司可能拥有五六个猪肉加工厂,他们会说,我们只是用我们的一个小工厂来为中国加工屠体,”咨询公司Global AgriTrends的总裁布雷特·斯图尔特(Brett Stuart)说。“我认为他们都没有真正报告过自己所做的事情。”

纽约时报双语版-美国肉厂警告国内“肉荒”,对华出口却有增无减

位于爱荷华州苏城的海岸胜利工厂是由五个中西部大型生猪养殖场组成的合资企业。
KC McGinnis for The New York Times

Government data on exports is also incomplete. After the meat executives warned of shortages, Mr. Corbo of Food & Water Watch filed public-records requests asking the Department of Agriculture for a list of all “exports certificates” detailing meat exports from each company. The federal agency declined to release the amount or type of meat included in each shipment without the companies’ permission, he said.

政府公布的出口数据也不完整。在肉类行业高管发出短缺警告后,食品与水观察组织的科尔博提交了公开记录请求,要求农业部提供所有“出口证明”的清单,其中详细列出每家公司的肉类出口情况。他说,联邦机构拒绝在未经公司许可的情况下透露每批产品中所含肉类的数量和种类。

Smithfield has been sensitive about its connections to China for years. On its website, the company points out that it is owned by an entity with shares that trade on the Hong Kong stock exchange and that all of its top executives are American.

史密斯菲尔德多年来一直对自己与中国的关系很敏感。该公司在其网站上指出,公司由一家实体拥有,其股票在香港证券交易所交易,其高层管理人员均为美国人。

In late November, Reuters reported that the pork plant in Smithfield, Va., the company’s hometown, was shifting production to meet Chinese demand. Workers described how they had shifted their focus away from American products and were now focused on slaughtering and slicing pig carcasses into thirds for shipments to China.

去年11月底,路透社(Reuters)报道称,公司诞生地弗吉尼亚州史密斯菲尔德的猪肉加工厂正在调整生产,以满足中国的需求。工人们描述了他们将重点从美国产品转移到屠宰及切割猪屠体、然后运往中国上。

In late April, President Trump announced an executive order keeping meat plants open, and a few days later Smithfield issued a news release saying it would “immediately begin the process of retooling” its hometown plant. The company said the plant would process pork exclusively for American consumers.

4月下旬,特朗普总统宣布了一项行政命令,让肉品加工厂继续运营。几天后,史密斯菲尔德发布了一份新闻稿,表示将对其诞生地工厂“立即开始进行设备更新”。该公司表示,这家工厂将专门为美国消费者加工猪肉。

In its statement, Smithfield said it was making the changes to the plant “to meet demand for fresh pork, bacon and the company’s iconic Genuine Smithfield Ham” from U.S. consumers.

史密斯菲尔德在声明中表示,对工厂进行改造是为了满足美国消费者“对新鲜猪肉、培根和公司招牌‘正宗史密斯菲尔德火腿’的需求。”

But there may be other considerations for the move. “I think it’s on their radar that exports could fester into a P.R. problem,” said Mr. Smith, the livestock analyst.

但此举可能还有其他考虑。“我认为,他们已经意识到,出口问题可能会恶化为公关问题,”家畜行业分析师史密斯说。