Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee is the latest lawmaker to express food safety concerns regarding the proposed acquisition of Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer and processor, by Shuanghui International, a Chinese meat product company. She made the following comments in a press release issued today:
American consumers have long been able to trust the food they buy in the supermarket. The U.S. produces the safest, most affordable food in the world because of the high standard to which we hold our food producers.
I am concerned about Shuanghui International's possible purchase of Smithfield Foods and the implications it could have on food safety for American consumers. The agencies responsible for approving this possible merger must take China's and Shuanghui's troubling track record on food safety into account, and do everything in their power to ensure our national security and the health of our families is not jeopardized."
Just two years ago, Shuanghui International admitted to putting illegal additives in its food products. Earlier this year, more than 9,000 dead hogs were found floating in a river in Shanghai after having been dumped there by farmers after the hogs contracted disease. Beyond pork, many reports of food contamination have recently plagued China's entire food system.
If the proposed acquisition of Smithfield is approved and actualized, it would be the largest acquisition of an American company by a Chinese company in history.
The market has responded positively to new of this acquisition as they see it as potentially expanding U.S. pork export opportunities. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has said the deal highlights the amount of consolidation that now exists in the livestock industry.
The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment, a government panel that reviews foreign takeovers of U.S. firms, will look into the Smithfield deal. Our sources believe the acquisition will be approved.