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.