China's Purchase of Smithfield Foods
Should We Be Worried?
Almost everyone on the East coast of the United States is familiar with the name “Smithfield”. It was ours, it stood for something. It provided jobs for thousands of people in Virginia and many other states. The words Virginia and Smithfield were a perfect pair. Maybe we should be proud that China wanted to own the best.
But on the other hand maybe we should be worried.
Is It a Takeover?
In September of 2013 the United States Committee on Foreign Investments approved the sale of Smithfield to a Chinese company.
It was purchased by Shuanghu International. Shuanghu was the number one pork producer in China. China now owns a major U.S. food producer.
This is disconcerting to say the least in view of the inferior products which have been sent to the United States by China.
Should we call it a takeover? Considering that Shuanghu is now the world’s largest pork producer; yes I would call it part of a takeover.
Shuanghu International Holdings changed their name to WH Group Ltd.
Was this done to mask the Chinese name from American citizens and especially citizens of Virginia.
This way the general public does not immediately recognize that they are purchasing pork from China or at best pork controlled by China. Will it be controlled like all of their other products or will the United States still have some authority?
What Others Have Said
According to an article in Watchdog. Org Virginia state Delegate Bob Marshall called the USCFI’s approval “unbelievably shortsighted with respect to American citizens and workers”. I must agree with him.
This same article quotes Senate Agriculture committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow as calling for “A food security plank”. She also suggested closer inspection by the FDA.
This definitely should be done as China’s disregard for cleanliness and purity of food and products is common knowledge.
According to an article by Dexter Roberts on Bloomberg Business week, China’s investment in the United States doubled in 2013. The most prominent acquisitions were in food, energy and real estate.
2014 investments are expected to be comparable to 2013.
So, will Virginian’s refrain from purchasing the Smithfield foods they are used to buying? To some it is appalling that our own true faithful pork products are now owned by China.
The same China that sent us polluted toothpaste, poison paints and jewelry is now in charge of our pork products.
Why couldn’t China have just been happy to purchase our lower cost pork? Was it greed so they could be the number one pork producer in the world?
Growing up in the Southern parts of the United States in the late 1950’s and 60’s I have distinct memories of people refusing to shop at Sears because it was owned by people from a particular race.
I rode buses where some people were only allowed to sit in the back seats. I was only a child but this really bothered me.
The same principles seem to be in play here? One population does not want another population to rise higher for fear of being taken over.
Will Smithfields Standards Last?
On the other hand I could say that China has now gotten its claws in Virginia! Would that be a prejudiced statement? Prejudiced yes, but not a racial prejudice. It’s simply that Smithfield was ours and we were proud of it. That pride will no longer exist for Virginian’s.
However, I must admit that I will hesitate the next time I’m shopping and considering purchasing a Smithfield product. This in the long run would harm American workers who have been producing our pork products. Maybe there’s another brand that’s produced locally and won’t help China’s economy.
Smithfield products which include the Armour, Eckrich and Gwaltney brands, among others, are considered the best by many. Let’s see how long it stays that way.
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