Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, owned by China
Pork lovers, keep an eye on Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, now owned by China!
Remember this shocking video that revealed inhumane animal treatments at Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer and the historic American company in Smithfield, Virginia?
Title: Undercover at Smithfield Foods (2012 Webby Award Winner)
An investigator from The Humane Society of the United States documented the suffering endured by female breeding pigs held in severely restrictive gestation crates on a factory farm operated by a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer.
Apart from controversial pig treatments, Smithfield Foods continues to raise concerns for many. If you eat pork meats, you may want to watch out what’s going on in this company.
In late September, 2013, a Chinese company bought America’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) cleared the deal.
That is, Smithfield Foods is now owned by China, specifically, a Chinese company called Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. (now WH Group Ltd.) The Chinese company paid $4.7 billion (a whopping 31% premium) and the deal is the biggest Chinese acquisition of a U.S. company to date. It is not the most recent event, but a topic that continues to draw attention. For example, PBS recently covered the story with the title of “Who’s behind the Chinese takeover of world’s biggest pork producer?“.
The Smithfield Foods deal was controversial for several reasons, especially considering the new owner is a Chinese company who had strong supports by Chinese government for the deal (e.g. $4 billion loan in one day by Bank of China).
First of all, this deal raises political concerns since many see that Food Security is National Security.
Another very critical point is fears surrounding Chinese food safety. China has been notorious when it comes to food safety. Shuanghui has struggled with food quality controversies in the past. The company was at the center of a Chinese television investigation into sales of pork produced with clenbuterol, a food additive banned in the United States, the European Union and China because of health risks, according to New York Times. Wall Street Journal also reports that China’s food and agriculture industry has been racked by health and hygiene scandals in recent years, highlighted in March, 2013 when thousands of dead pigs were found in rivers around Shanghai.
What can we do as consumers?
What I’d do is to pay close attention to what the company is doing and if any wrongdoing were found, boycott all their products.
Or, buy products from local producers or small farms that process their own products.
Or, you can save more than 100 animals every year from the horrors of factory farms, slaughterhouses, and commercial fishing trawlers by going vegetarian, as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recommends.
FYI: The following is some of brands that are owned by Smithfield Foods.
(Originally published by Dr Miki at AskDrMiki.com in September, 2014)