Smithfield sale to China casts a new light on your kid’s ham sandwich
A Chinese pork producer is looking to buy Smithfield Foods, one of the largest producers of pork products in the US. Should the sale cause parents concern about China's food safety issues?
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In 2011, an NBC news article said more than 2,000 athletes from at least 181 countries competing in the 14th FINA World Aquatics Championships, hosted that year by China, refused to eat the country’s beef or pork in order not to run afoul of the anti-doping rules. Good on them, because a World Anti-Doping Agency report from that time, cited in the NBC article, discovered 22 of 28 travelers returning from China tested positive for clenbuterol.Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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The NBC reporter's conclusion: “The hard evidence from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s report is a damning indictment of Chinese food standards at a time when the government has been dealing with a rash of food safety issues all over the country.”
The Livestrong website gives a long list of dangerous side effects the drug, used in veterinary medicine as an antihistamine, can have when humans ingest it.
As a parent, I want to know how this kind of food-related, accidental and unwanted drug ingestion can occur.
Still, I wasn’t too worried because I know there’s a pending federal review of the merger’s implications for national security, according to Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys Inc., a brand and marketing consulting company based in New York.
However, I then read further in the Virginian-Pilot story and learned that most Americans are considered unlikely to share my concerns and Marshall’s.
“To the consumer, it doesn’t matter,” Kenneth Bernhardt, a marketing professor who specializes in consumer behavior at Georgia State University, told the Pilot. “The key is not the ownership but the brand, and does the product deliver on the brand promise.”
The chairman of Shuanghui International Holdings, who last week won Smithfield’s acceptance for what would be the largest Chinese acquisition of a US company, said he wants to tap foreign expertise and technology to help reshape food safety and production at home.
“The question of food safety, whether it’s to American consumers or Chinese consumers, is a big deal,” Wan said, according to The Pilot. “Our nation has a tighter and tighter grip over food safety.”
“Europe and America have excellent skills and equipment,” Wan said in the article. “If we go and purchase businesses from America and Europe, develop China’s meat industry, we will raise the level and standard of our food safety.”
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