Grassley: Chinese company controlling US meat supply is 'a bit concerning'

Grassley’s comments came after Shuanghui International announced that it would buy Smithfield Foods, one of the largest U.S. meat suppliers.

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“The Smithfield-Shuanghui deal also highlights the need for country of origin labeling,” Grassley said. “Like so many Americans, I would rather eat pork, beef and poultry raised in the United States. The deal only makes it more logical to ensure that American consumers know exactly what they are paying for and eating.”

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said she too was concerned about the merger, saying it raised “food safety concerns.”

“This potential merger raises real food safety concerns that should alarm consumers,” DeLauro said Wednesday. “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. 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.”

Grassley called on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) to investigate if the deal will harm U.S. consumers and smaller farmers and ranchers.

“I share the concerns of many family farmers and independent producers that the agriculture industry has consolidated to the point where many smaller market participants do not have equal access to fair and competitive markets,” Grassley said. “Today’s announcement by Smithfield and Shuanghui do not alleviate those concerns.

“Concentration also leads to consumers having fewer choices and higher costs at the grocery store. The Justice Department should take a close look at this agreement.”