Food safety an issue in Smithfield deal

Published online: Jun 14, 2013
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The chair of the Senate Ag Committee has several concerns with the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to a Chinese company.

Debbie Stabenow says food safety is a big one-and she says Shaunghui International has a "spotty track record" in that area.

"They've given banned chemicals to their hogs," Stabenow says, "and there have been stories about hogs that were dumped in the river in China-that were diseased-and this came from the same company."

Asked about the Smithfield purchase, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack also cited food safety concerns.

"Companies, in the past, have had issues-particularly in China," Vilsack says. "That raises an awareness and a sensitivity to the need for us to make sure that we continue to do our food safety job as well as we possibly can."

The other big concern expressed by both Vilsack and Stabenow is the food security of the United States.

The following comments on the Smithfield deal come from Stabenow's recent appearance on C-SPAN's Newsmakers program.