UPDATE 1-Smithfield halts hog kill at N. Carolina plant due to hog virus -sources
* Spread of deadly pig virus has tightened U.S. hog supply
* An estimated 4 mln-5 mln pigs have died of virus in past 10 months
* Disease does not affect humans, not a food safety risk
* More processors likely to curtail slaughter operations in future
By Meredith Davis and Christine Stebbins
March 14 (Reuters) - Smithfield Foods Inc, the world's largest pork processor, suspended hog slaughter at its Tar Heel, North Carolina, plant on Friday because of the spread of the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) which has tightened hog supplies, industry sources said.
The Tar Heel plant, the company's largest pork processing facility, reduced its slaughter schedule this week to four days from five days, said the sources, who have knowledge of the plant's operations and hog purchases. They requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
While it is not slaughtering hogs on Friday, the plant is processing meat from this week's kill, the persons said.
Smithfield, acquired last year by China's Shuanghui International, said it does not comment on daily operations, minor disruptions, and openings or closings of processing plants. Continuación...