Foreign investment in our country is not a new thing. In fact, it goes all the way back to the birth of our nation. Just think about the impact the French had in our American Revolution or when they side-stepped the international agreement not to sell armed ships to either the North or the South during our Civil War by sailing their ships offshore to “arm them”. Now, the sale of Smithfield Foods on 9/26/13 to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd, which represents the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm is not a part of a war effort, but it should concern you just as much. Shuanghui has had repeated and widely publicized food-safety issues, one in 2008 involving dairy tainted with the industrial chemical melamine that killed six babies and sickened 300,000 and most recently in 2011 when the pork it produced contained the chemical clenbuterol, which makes pork leaner, but can be harmful to people.
Larry Pope, the Smithfield CEO, stated that Smithfield will continue to adhere to the strictest food safety standards and quality possible. Okay…..but, he is an employee not an owner. I don’t eat processed foods, so I don’t buy any Armour, Farmland or Smithfield products and don’t plan on starting. You are what you eat–try reading the ingredients on any of these products. Do you understand what is in them, what you are putting into your body? Would you notice or care if Shuanghui adds some additional 12+ letter chemicals to the ingredients list? Probably not, but you should. Let your purchase power speak to this concern. Think about supporting a local farmer that raises pasture-finished pork. These are the folks that truly care about the integrity of our food systems, not Shuanghui. Same for beef and lamb. Check out how few companies own the meat processing facilities in the U.S. It is pretty scary.