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Sen. Stabenow Concerned About Food Safety Implications of Smithfield Sale

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee said on Wednesday she is concerned about the food safety implications of the proposed acquisition of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer and processor, by Shuanghui International, the largest meat company in China.

“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,” said Stabenow, in a statement released by her office. “I am concerned about Shuanghui International’s possible purchase of Smithfield Foods and the implications it could have on food safety for American consumers.

Stabenow urged the Committee on Foreign Investment and other agencies responsible for reviewing  the merger to take into account “China’s and Shuanghui’s troubling track record on food safety” and to “do everything in their power to ensure our national security and the health of our families is not jeopardized.”

The senator pointed out that 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.

© Food Safety News
  • Mike_Mychajlonka_PhD

    I am just curious how Senator Stabenow can make the statement that the United States has the “safest” food in the world when other authors published by Food Safety News have suggested that imported food that fails entry into the European Union is then sent on to the United States in the apparently reasonable hope that it will be allowed entry without inspection because of the chronically underfunded status of our regulatory agencies? We have, for example, a reasonably stringent Federal standard for arsenic in our drinking water (10 ppb, which some folks think is too high, e.g., New Jersey’s standard is 5 ppb). Yet, we have no standard at all for the level of arsenic in our food. Logic suggests that if one hardly ever looks for a problem, it will almost never be found. Bacterial contamination of meat is so widespread that government agencies suggest cooking all meat to temperatures that will render it tasteless as well as safe. Some in the meat industry even take such recommendations as a license to offload the responsibility for food safety onto the consumer in a “blame-the-victim” fashion. I agree that we are doing better than China but I am not at all sure we are in any position to lecture China (or anyone else) on the subject of food safety.

  • KatMT

    If China owns the company, the majority of the pork will go to China causing the cost of pork to go way up in the U.S. also. China comsumes a LOT of pork .

    • Barb3000

      The high cost of feed is one of the reasons pork and other meat is higher now than at any time I can remember. Especially hay. What i found out a few years ago is that the large growers ship boat loads to China instead of selling it locally. If you only need 2 or 3 tons for your horses for the year these growers want you to buy 5 or more tons or they won’t sell to you. The only thing left is to try to make a deal with a local small grower hoping to get your hay. If you don’t its expensive hay pellets.

  • Marco Polo

    China is taking over the U.S., mile by mile….military bases, corporations, land, food, etc.
    For more than any other reason, I chose to read labels on all products not just for the ingredients but rather for where the products are made, processed., etc. All food (even for pets) and skin products are off my list. China already has a disgusting, even deadly reputation for their adulteration.

  • Alan8

    Stabenow is a hypocrite who voted for the Monsanto Protection Act: http://www.ibtimes.com/monsanto-protection-act-roll-call-how-did-your-congressperson-vote-hr-933-1158789

    This fascist law, “…effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or
    planting of genetically modified crops and seeds, no matter what health
    consequences from their consumption may come to light in the future,…”.

    She then voted AGAINST Bernie Sanders’ amendment to allow states to require labeling on GMO frankenfoods: http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=113&session=1&vote=00135

    Stabenow is a corporate shill, who needs to be voted out of office next election!

  • Stephanie Mullany

    Of great concern to American consumers, many of whom will not feed products made by the Chinese to their pets. At best consumption of anything for which the Chinese have responsibility is Russian roulette.
    cf. toxic wallboard in homes, steel that literally rusts overnight, disintegrating in weeks, not to mention deaths of many dogs in the US after eating Chinese products. Eating anything owned by China is poor reality testing, not to mention probably suicidal.

  • Joanie Harris

    Thank you Sen. Stabenow for your service to our nation,we should never sell out to another country,with economy recovering .Exports,,,,yes,yes,yes,sell out no!Security of national resources,food safety.Why can’t we secure our national resources,and export,export=. Jobs here!

  • Joanie Harris

    Thank you Sen. Stabenow for your service to our nation.We should never sell out to another country with economic recovery where it is.Food safety security of national resources,should matter export ,export,yes,yes,= jobs for Americans,,,not to mention food safety.enjoyed your talk on CNBC this morning,Go America !!!