The Atlantic

'Big Pork' Wants to Get In on Organ Transplants

The pork industry has always been creative about finding uses for pig byproducts.
Source: Miromatrix Medical

Smithfield Foods sells bacon, ham, hot dogs, pork chops, and sausages (breakfast, smoked, and dry). It also supplies pharmaceutical companies. Heparin, a molecule extracted from pig guts, is the crucial ingredient in blood-thinning drugs.

It makes sense when you think about it: Meat and organs tend to come in a single package (i.e. a pig), so of course the world’s largest pork processor is also a major U.S. heparin supplier. With that in mind, it also makes sense that Smithfield has a growing interest in pig-to-human organ transplants.

Earlier this month, the company announced a new bioscience unit that will work with medical companies interested in pig parts—perhaps even organs for transplant one day. “We want to signal to the medical-device and science communities that this is an area we’re focused on—that we’re not strictly packers,” Courtney Stanton, Smithfield

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