Beijing in 2008 will be remembered for the unforgettable spectacle of the Olympic Games. As well as the impressive number of medals won by Chinese athletes, the Chinese people themselves won another important medal for organisation and that included providing safe and healthy pork products to thousands of visitors. The Chinese people worked hard to prepare for the Olympics, whether it came to providing housing, transportation or pork products, as they had been waiting many years to host the event. To ensure that success, the People's Republic of China planned everything in minute detail, with security being of paramount importance.

Food safety

The food provided to the athletes, coaches and officials from around the world had to be of the highest quality. Consequently, each supplier was carefully selected by the Chinese administration. China produced over 45 million metric tons of pork last year, so it would seem that finding a supplier would be an easy task, but a large number of criteria had to be met welfare, management, nutrition and health. Ultimately, only four pig farms were selected, with the pigs being processed by the Beijing-based Er Shang Group slaughterhouse, the only one approved for the Olympics.

Beijing Juiding Swine Breeding Co Ltd

Beijing Juiding Swine Breeding Company has 1,600 sows, is situated 40km south of Beijing and is managed by Wang Guangyi. Much emphasis has been laid over the years by the farm on safe working practices and concerns about pig welfare, so the farm easily passed the criteria laid down to become official pork supplier to the 2008 Olympics.

For many years, animal welfare has been a major priority on the Juiding farm. At birth, all piglets are dipped in Mistral, made by the French company OLMIX, "Mistral dries the piglets and gets them going so that they quickly suckle and take in the vital colostrum" said Wang. "To gain immunity, piglets must rapidly consume colostrum, which is loaded with maternal antibodies, during the first hours after farrowing." In terms of maximising piglet health, Mistral is sprinkled daily in the piglets' creep area to help reduce piglet diarrhoea.

Traceability is very important with reference to feeds and grains. Samples from each feed batch are taken, analysed and kept for one year.

Also, semen quality from the farm's 25 Duroc boars is regularly monitored for fertility and viability. Between June to September, 6,000 pigs were sold by Juiding farm, with the market price at the end of October being 1.25 euros/kg (Chinese pork prices - chart).

Sustainable actions, biogas plant

Juiding farm is also concerned about protecting the environment. For several years now, the Beijing government has urged pork producers to make substantial efforts in this field and that is why the Beijing government has already invested $3.3 million to assist them with their projects.

"In 2006, we reinvested $55 000 from our profit to establish a wastewater treatment system," explained Wang. In addition, the local government has subsidised the farm's biogas plant. The farm's biogas is sold to the local government and then redistributed to the local population, with 220 families receiving this environmentally friendly gas from Juiding farm.

After investing nearly 1 million euros in 2007 to enlarge his farm, Wang has plans to continue expansion by adding on an 800 sows. "By 2009, we will able to produce 50,000 pigs per year," said Wang.

Juimu Pig Farmers Cooperative

Juiding Swine Breeding is a member of the Juimu Cooperative, which was founded in 2005 under the leadership of Wang and eight other local pig farmers.

"The purpose of this independent association is to provide services and to help the members with veterinary matters. It also provides information about the price of pork and raw materials along with organising seminars," stated Gao Kejian, director of the Juimu Cooperative.