In this Washington Post article, The town that pork built tries to digest Smithfield sale (pun obviously intended) the residents of Smithfield, Virginia (USA) react to news of the sale of Smithfield Foods to a Chinese buyer. Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork producer. The Chinese rank 9th (yes only 9th) among the world’s eaters of pork. On May 30th, 2013, the news broke that Smithfield Foods, located in Smithfield, VA, had agreed to sell itself to a Chinese meat conglomerate for $4.7 billion.
Reactions among Smithfield residents varied:
One resident fondly recalled “devouring Smithfield ham” at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and proclaimed herself to be less than happy at the thought of the Chinese “getting their tentacles” into an American tradition. To that I say – it will still be American-made and produced ham.
Another resident expressed concerns about China’s poor record of food safety and animal welfare standards influencing its American operations. But as a US-based company the plant in Smithfield will continue to have to follow US food safety and other regulations and standards. It’ll still be “Made in America”.
Then there is the resident who looked forward to the increased exports that this could mean. This could mean more American-made products going overseas.
And there’s the resident who hopes that the new, apparently wealthy, owners will see fit to raise her wages. On that, I can only wish her “good luck”.
Two earlier posts, Made in the World”: What’s Behind the Label and Another Look Behind the Label spoke about the need to look behind the labels and the “Made in China” scare that the media seems to love. We said that China, like any other industrialized country, seeks to create, own, and manage its own brands, perhaps even seeking third countries that will allow it to achieve its goals.