Marshall contends that the idea of selling this major food producer to China “has not been received well by my constituents, nor in my own family,” he wrote. “While Shuanghui may purchase your physical plant and property, Smithfield’s former reputation built up from 1936 will not transfer with the sale. Inevitably, the Smithfield ‘brand’ will suffer, and regrettably, so will many Virginians.”
The delegate is the first Virginia politician to publicly skewer the proposed merger and he points to the discovery of a banned additive, clenbuterol, in pigs raised at a Shuanghui subsidiary.
“China’s widespread food safety problems are known to American consumers and will engulf Smithfield Foods products regardless of the names under which they are sold,” Marshall also wrote, according to The Pilot.
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.
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.”