Here's another reason to be slightly freaking out that Chinese company Shuanghui International is planning to buy pork giant Smithfield: Shuanghui, naturally, has a terrible history of food hazards.
CNN has an roundup of some horrifying food scares from Shuanghui in China, ranging from dead maggots found in sausages to bacteria-ridden cumin sausages. And while the company's statement claims that "All consumers in the United States can continue to enjoy the high quality of safe pork products from Smithfield," concerns over food safety and the food supply are still rampant.
The New York Times reports that the Smithfield-Shuanghui deal will be subject to a national security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, as it's the largest Chinese acquistition of an American company.
The review, The Times reports, will likley look at the contracts Smithfield has with military and security agencies, as well as special technology that might be transferred abroad. Furthermore, the review will see if Shuanghui, post acquisition, will be able to distrup the U.S. food supply chain.
Naturally, some politicans are wary of the acquisition, given Shuanghui's sketchy past. "We know that Chinese food products have been a threat to public health and that Shuanghui was found to have produced and sold tainted pork," U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said in a statement (DeLauro helped draft the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act). "This merger... may only make it more difficult to protect the food supply. I have deep doubts about whether this merger best serves American consumers and urge federal regulators to put their concerns first."
Considering that recently, 16,000 dead pigs were shown in the Huangpu River, it's not surprising that there's low PR for this buy. Then again, our recent salmonella and listeria scares aren't that great, either.