WASHINGTON (WWLP) - Massachusetts Senator William "Mo" Cowan is one of several senators that have written a letter seeking more oversight of a proposal that would be the largest-ever sale of an American food company to a Chinese company.
Shuanghui International proposes to buy Smithfield Foods; one of the largest meat producers in the United States. Smithfield owns many facilities across the country, including the Carando plant in Springfield.
The sale to Shuanghui (also known as Shineway) is currently being reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS) , but the senators are seeking the involvement of groups that will evaluate the sale based on concerns about the U.S. food supply.
Saying that the food supply is "critical infrastructure" and a matter of national security, the Stoughton Democrat and a bipartisan group of other senators want the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration to be involved in the review of the proposed sale.
In their letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, they added: "Further, any CIFUS review of this transaction should look beyond any direct impact on government agencies and operations to the broader issues of food security, food safety, and biosecurity."
The senators say that this proposed sale raises new questions about future foreign acquisitions of U.S. food companies, and what that means for the integrity and safety of the food supply.