China moves in on U.S. hog industry, buys biggest pork producer

WASHINGTON – A food-safety group called a Chinese purchase of America’s largest pork producer “bad news for U.S. farmers and consumers” as opposition began building to the deal.

The buyout of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods by Shuanghui International Holdings — the biggest acquisition of an American firm by a Chinese company — “tightens the grip of multinational agribusinesses,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch.

“While it’s making business news headlines, U.S. consumers will likely not take notice of the change, but it will show up on their plates in the form of farmer exploitation, more factory farms and a more complicated supply chain that leaves consumers at higher risk of food contamination,” Hauter said in a statement Thursday, a day after the $5.1 billion deal was announced.

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