Smithfield was founded in 1936 as a meat-packing plant in Virginia; it is currently a multi-million dollar industry and the nation’s number one producer of pork products.  The idea that China, with its history of producing tainted products, may take over this American company is alarming.  Hopefully, political pressure can stop the Smithfield deal which will face the scrutiny of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, a government panel that assesses national security risks.

From Reuters

China’s Shuanghui International plans to buy Smithfield Foods Inc (SFD.N) for $4.7 billion to feed a growing Chinese appetite for U.S. pork, but the proposed takeover of the world’s No. 1 producer has stirred concern in the United States.

The transaction, announced on Wednesday, would rank as the largest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company, with an enterprise value of $7.1 billion, including debt assumption.

As it stands. the deal is the biggest Chinese play for a U.S. company since CNOOC Ltd offered to buy Unocal for about $18 billion in 2005. The state-controlled energy company later withdrew that bid under U.S. political pressure.


In the town of Smithfield, which the local visitors bureau describes as rich in “hams, history and hospitality,” officials said they were shocked by the news.

“It was a total shock to us,” said Smithfield Mayor T. Carter Williams, who noted that his wife has worked for the company for a decade. “Right now, I don’t think anybody here knows what’s going to happen…the people in China say nothing is going to change. We would hope so.”


Demand for U.S. meat in China has risen tenfold over the past decade, fueled in part by a series of embarrassing food safety scandals, from rat meat passed off as pork to thousands of pig carcasses floating on a river. Public anxiety over cases of fake or toxic food often spreads quickly.

Shuanghui itself became embroiled in a scandal over tainted meat two years ago, when it was forced to recall its Shineway brand meat products from store shelves on fear that some of it contained a banned feed additive called clenbuterol.

In that respect, the Smithfield deal may help quell Chinese concerns over the use of ractopamine, a similar additive commonly used by U.S. hog producers to bulk up animals with muscle instead of fat, without increasing the amount of feed.

(please read the entire article)

And today from Fox News:

 Explosion, Fire Reportedly Kill 119 at Poultry Plant in China

Fire raged through a poultry plant in northeastern China on Monday, trapping workers inside a cluttered slaughterhouse and killing at least 119 people, reports and officials said.

Several dozen people also were hurt in the blaze in Jilin province’s Mishazi township, which appeared to have been sparked by three early morning explosions, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The provincial fire department, on its microblog, attributed the blasts to a leak of ammonia, a gas that is kept pressurized as part of the cooling system in meat processing plants. (continued…)

Bold – my emphasis: we prefer Hickory Smoked over ammonia; just sayin 😉

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6 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Shifra says:

    This is not good news. I am very careful not to buy anything from China — alot of garlic sold in supermarkets does come from China, so you need to ask about the origin of the garlic. If it is not from California or Texas, I won’t buy it. (Although who knows where garlic powder really comes from?) I saw a video not long ago, about the sewer sludge they use to grow crops, and it was horrific. But here they are taking over a U.S. company. Let’s hope no one loses their job over this.

  2. ConservativeSue says:

    Shifra, I share your sentiments. China, not too long ago, bought the AMC Theater chain. In the ’90’s, the Clinton’s gave China mining rights on federal lands to mine for metals used in making high-tech devices. After Sam Walton’s death, Walmart went from Made in USA to Made in China. With the Smithfield Foods deal, this is a very scary direction China is taking in the U.S., and for those who can connect the dots, a disturbing pattern of behavior.

  3. Kitten says:

    Very interesting that this post is so timely, Patricia. I attended a wedding reception on Saturday, in Smithfield. Wait, I should say (worked) a wedding reception for a rather wealthy family, with one of my clients who is a high-end caterer. They catered the reception. Anyway, on the ride there, I was listening to a local radio talk show that was discussing this very issue. It didn’t sound like the locals were very happy about this potential buyout. Personally, I think it would be horrible if China was to buy Smithfield Foods. Not just because of the tradition of Smithfield Foods in America, but the terrible trade practices of China (and the fact that they’re always stealing from us) and their total disregard for the environment and the waste practices they have been known to use, not to mention the history of tainted food products they heap on the masses, as this article points out, but I believe China would just love to get their hands on all the advanced research and technology related to commercial hog farming that Smithfield Foods has spent years and millions to acquire. I also believe that’s what this acquisition is really all about. Hopefully, as you stated Patricia, political pressure will prevent this from happening. I have contacted Randy Forbes (my Congressman) who also serves this district to voice my opinion on the subject.

  4. strider says:

    Have to wonder if the Byzantine actions of the EPA, IRS, and other Federal agencies isn’t meant to encourage this. Doesn’t seem healthy to sell our natural resources, food production, technology, etc. to a country that holds a massive amount of our debt and pokes us with a stick at every opportunity.

  5. Pat_S says:

    Something strange is happening to pigs in the U.S. It’s the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) which is lethal to young pigs. Asia and Europe have had experience with the virus but the USDA doesn’t know how the virus got into the U.S. This is the first time we are seeing the virus here. It has spread to five states. We are to believe the meat from infected pigs is safe for humans to eat. The disease is spread by pigs eating infected feces. Bon appetit!

    Pork industry hunts for deadly pig virus

  6. Dave says:

    I’ll never buy one product of Smithfield ever again if they sell to China. I try very hard not to purchase any product made in China. It is always inferior.

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