AirTalk for May 30, 2013

Is China’s purchase of a US pork supplier a sign of things to come?

Pork Processor Smithfield Being Bought By Chinese Company For 4.7 Billion

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Farmland's hickory smoked bacon is on sale at a supermarket on May 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Farmland is a brand owned by Smithfield Foods Inc, which is the biggest pork producer in the world.

Smithfield Foods Inc., one of the biggest pork producers in the U.S., has agreed to be bought by Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., the majority shareholder in China's largest meat processor, for about $4.72 billion.

The deal is the largest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm. The deal needs the approval of federal regulators and Smithfield shareholders. The acquisition points to China's growing appetite for meat and other foods, driven by the expansion of the country’s middle class and the changing eating habits that go along with it.

But in light of the myriad food contamination scandals coming out of China in recent years, many in the U.S. are concerned that the purchase would impact the stateside food supply chain negatively. Larry Pope, the CEO of Smithfield, has said that the deal is meant to boost pork export to China and not the other way around.

Guests:
Peter Navarro, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine; director of the documentary, "Death By China"

Bill Marler, food safety lawyer in Seattle.


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