Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced that C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield, testified Wednesday before the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to review the benefits of the Shuanghui-Smithfield transaction for US farmers and agriculture, while reaffirming the commitment to upholding the highest food safety standards.
Since the transaction was announced it has received broad-based support from local, state and national elected officials, industry labor unions, US hog farmers, leading economic and international affairs academics and even US based food industry peers.
Pope explained the combined company’s commitment to continuing to work with American producers and suppliers that have played an integral role in Smithfield’s success:
“With respect to agriculture, we expect this transaction to drive growth and expansion not only for our growers, but for the entire US pork industry. Smithfield Foods owns over 400 hog farms and has contracts with more than 2,000 family farmers across the country. Our agreement with Shuanghui will maintain all of these contracts and arrangements. Moreover, this transaction creates a terrific opportunity through growth in exports for US hog farmers to expand production to meet the growing Chinese demand.”
Pope underscored the combined company’s commitment to food safety as the highest priority: “The integrity of our brands, our record of safety, the safety of the US food supply chain and the recognised effectiveness of US food safety standards are key drivers of the value that Shuanghui places on Smithfield. Our brands are recognised as representing highest-quality, safe and sought-after products throughout the world, including in China. Our combined company thus has every incentive to ensure the continued safety and excellence of our products and brands. Smithfield’s facilities will continue to maintain their quality and will experience the same rigorous level of USDA FSIS inspection, regardless of the ownership of this company. Absolutely nothing about how our products are made, inspected or distributed will change.”
Pope also emphasised Shuanghui’s commitment to maintaining Smithfield’s operations, staff and management: “Shuanghui intends to retain Smithfield’s management team, its plants and its employees. Shuanghui recognises Smithfield’s best-in-class operations, outstanding food safety practices and 46,000 hard-working employees. There should be no noticeable impact on how we do business operationally in America and around the world as a result of this transaction, except that we will do more of it.”