China’s Shuanghui is going to buy U.S. Smithfield Foods. Shuanghui is a former communist state owned enterprise and Smithfield is the largest American pork production and distribution firm filling packages with dozens of brand names including: Armour, John Morrell, Cook’s, Healthy Ones . . . Before we let Congress and regulators roll over on this fat deal for U.S. bankers, let us remember that it hails from the land of outrageous food production scandals.
Before we start, let me be clear that I don’t know the details of Shuanghui’s food production, but I know way too much about what goes on with food in China and that just ain’t pretty. I could write a whole chapter (hey, we did) on Chinese product quality nightmares. For instance, I’ve watched sausage made in rural China and captured the cultural expectations of sanitation in these charming images:
Now, before you say that stuff just happens out in the sticks, let me point out that these nightmares are not limited to the medieval Chinese hinterland. Recently thousands of rotting pig carcasses were found to be polluting Shanghai’s drinking water. In a story entitled “Rivers of Blood” the Guardian newspaper writes of dead piglets bobbing on the shores of the river supplying China’s largest city with water. Nobody seems to know where 16,000 rotting pigs came from – or more likely the culprit is a big, well connected Chinese firm protected by the authorities. That’s just the way the Communist Party and their homies roll. The plutocracy gets richer, truth gets buried, the people get screwed.
China’s U.S. apologists will say, “those sort of problems will remain in China and we have the government to protect us in America.” Ridiculous, do you have any doubt that the Chinese owners of Smithfield backed by large American banks are going lower their costs by shutting down American farms – like they’ve done to our factories – and stocking your grocery shelves with pork produced in China, to Chinese standards? The regulatory argument allowing Chinese firms into the U.S. is the equivalent of allowing known bank robbers into our country because “we have police to protect us.”
The apologists will also say, despite all the evidence to the contrary, “China is working hard to clean up its act.” Well I’ll admit the commies get pretty nasty when they are publicly embarrassed. In 2008, the Chinese government executed the head of their own FDA and several others over a series of horrific scandals including the intentional tainting of milk and baby formula with melamine that sicken hundreds of thousands and killed several children. That’s how they roll in the nation that executes more of its people than the entire rest of the world combined. Get ready, the ethics of dead pigs and dead people are coming soon to your local Wal*Mart.
Greg Autry serves as Senior Economist with the American Jobs Alliance, Economist with theCoalition for a Prosperous America and is co-author (with Peter Navarro) of Death by China: Confronting the Dragon – a Global Call to Action. He blogs regularly at: http://www.gregautry.us/blog and on the Huffington Post.