I think I’m about to hurl!

chinese food

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.


About John Briggs

I live in Seattle and love telling stories about Americans, the places where they work and the things that they make. I have just published a book, Simply American, encouraging Americans to purchase American made products; the book can be ordered at www.simply-american.com.
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6 Responses to I think I’m about to hurl!

  1. Heather H says:

    If you watched Food, Inc. you would already be giving Smithfield a wide berth as they are simply cruel to both animals and their workers (I am NOT a vegetarian). I live in VA and would never choose to eat their product, US made or not.

    • tapirking says:

      Heather: Thanks for the info about Smithfield. Out here in Seattle we have a lot of small farming options that I take advantage of when I can.

      All the best,

      John Briggs

  2. Hi, The Chinese are not moving Smithfield to China. They are going to be exporting all of that meat to China. There’s a good chance that you will see less Smithfield in the store as most will end up going to China.
    I’m not an expert, but they are probably buying a US meat producer because the Chinese public does not trust their food supply.
    I read an article about Home Depot in China. This guy woul not buy their paint because the paint they sold in China was made in China and all Chinese people know it is potentially un-safe.

    • tapirking says:

      Thanks for the comment. What I am worrying about is what will happen to the quality of Smithfield products for sale here.

      • The quality probably wont change. The Chinese want the quality we have. As bad as our food supply may be, it is better than theirs.
        The Chinese will probably want to maintain Smithfields US market share and expand operation to expand exports to China.
        This will help our balance of trade.

  3. Jim G says:


    I’m right in the middle of a great book by Michael Pollan, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Much eye-opening info about the industrial food supply system right here in the US of A. While we may look upon pig snout or chicken feet as not the most desirable of nutritional alternatives, at least you know that you are eating a true pig snout (or chicken foot) when you eat one. It’s honest. What’s in your Jimmy Dean sausage, or worse, your chicken McNugget? Known carcinogens, and endocrin disruptors, for one thing, in the form of preservatives and pesticides.

    Give me good old clean dirt on my food instead of hidden poison, thank you.

    I love how the local food movement takes organic one step further away from the industrailization of our food supply. You’re right, we do live in a great corner of the world for eating healthy.

    Best to you!

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