DeLauro says food company sale ‘should alarm consumers’

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes a part of Shelton, is raising food safety concerns about the sale of a large American pork producer to a Chinese company.

“This merger may only make it more difficult to protect the food supply,” said DeLauro, a Democrat in her 12th term.

China-based Shuanghui International has agreed to buy Virginia-based Smithfield Foods. Reports indicate the possible $4.7 billion sale would be the biggest takeover of a U.S. company ever by a Chinese company.

Smithfield has brands such as Armour and Farmland and is the world’s largest pork producer and processor.

DeLauro is former chairman of the U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding the federal Agriculture Department, and still serves on the subcommittee.

‘Should alarm consumers’

“This potential merger raises real food safety concerns that should alarm consumers,” DeLauro said. “We know that Chinese food products have been a threat to public health and that Shuanghui was found to have produced and sold tainted pork.

“I have deep doubts about whether this merger,” she continued, “best serves American consumers and urge federal regulators to put their concerns first. I will be in touch with regulators throughout this process to ensure the public health and safety of the American public is safeguarded.”

The city of Shelton is divided between the Third District, represented by DeLauro, and the Fourth District, represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes. DeLauro lives in New Haven and has long focused on issues involving the safety of the food supply.