If you were strolling down the street in almost any Chinese city, the animal body parts displayed above would almost certainly be on offer: chicken feet, pig snouts, all your favorites. It seems the Chinese just can’t get their fill of pig snouts. So in order to keep the pig snout pipeline flowing, a Chinese firm has agreed to purchase Smithfield Foods Inc of Virginia, the world’s largest pork producer, for $4.7 billion. Apparently a whole lot of Smithfield Foods pork will be wending its way to the Middle Kingdom. And the Chinese can’t wait to get their mitts on it. According to the L.A. Times article, in 2010 China consumed 51 million metric tons of pork, nearly half the swine in the world.
Once a Chinese firm takes over Smithfield Foods Inc, Smithfield hams and pork loins will officially be removed from the Briggs family shopping list. Call me a scaredy cat, but I plan on giving Smithfield Foods products a wide berth once a Chinese owner is at the helm. The litany of Chinese food scandals just keeps growing. The last three I can remember include the Chinese rice that has just is a tad bit too much Cadmium in it, the “small” matter of Chinese dinners who ordered lamb and sadly ended up with rat and the famous floating armada of dead diseased pigs in the river that supplies drinking water for Shanghai. And if you think that our government is ensuring that it is safe to eat food stuffs from outside our borders, think again.
Still the sale of Smithfield is not yet a done deal. I hope calmer heads prevail, so that I can continue to eat Smithfield hams in the future. If you feel like it, take the poll below.