Smithfield sale raises concerns over US food security

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Smithfield sale raises concerns
Smithfield sale raises concerns

Related tags: Food security, Livestock, Pork

Members of the US Senate Agriculture Committee have called on the government to include food supply and safety experts in the review of the sale of pork processor Smithfield to Chinese company Shuanghui.

Fifteen out of the 20 members of the Committee, including chairwoman Senator Debbie Stabenow, wrote to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, urging him to include the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration in the national security review of the sale, which is being conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

“We believe that our food supply is critical infrastructure that should be included in any reasonable person’s definition of national security,”​ said the letter. It added that any CFIUS review of the transaction should look beyond direct impact on government agencies to “the broader issues of food security, food safety, and biosecurity”.

The letter also said the acquisition of Smithfield posed questions over how future deals with foreign companies should be reviewed and approved.

“For instance, what measures should be considered to ensure a company will maintain operations that comply with stringent American food safety and biosecurity standards?”​ the letter said.

“What measures should be considered to ensure that taxpayer supported research and development and any resulting intellectual property are properly safeguarded? Should trends in foreign acquisitions also be monitored to ensure the ongoing integrity of key components of the American food supply?”

The letter added that the Agriculture Committee would continue to examine how the transaction was reviewed, and how transactions should be reviewed in the future.

“The United States has the safest, most efficient and reliable food supply in the world. It is one of our nation’s great strengths, and we must ensure that it is preserved and protected,”​ it said.

Related topics: Meat

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