Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Senator Thad Cochran, Ranking Member of the Committee, and a bipartisan group of Agriculture Committee members, raised questions regarding government oversight of the proposed purchase of Smithfield Foods and future foreign acquisitions of American agriculture companies. The Senators urged Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to include both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration in the review of the proposed purchase of Smithfield foods so that the oversight process includes experts on the American food supply and food safety.
The proposed acquisition by Shuanghui International, a Chinese food company, will undergo a national security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and the Treasury Secretary has the authority to add the agencies to the review process.
The senators said that the foreign purchase of such a significant American agricultural company—the largest acquisition of any American company by a Chinese company in history—raises a number of broader questions about how such transactions are reviewed and whether the appropriate authorities are evaluating risks and ensuring American interests are protected. The senators questioned whether reviews of these sales are adequately reviewed to take into account American national security interests, uphold food safety standards, whether overall trends in foreign ownership of the American food supply are examined, and whether appropriate measures are in place to safeguard American intellectual property
Thursday, June 20, 2013/ Senate Committee on Agriculture/ United States.