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Senate coalition asks for scrutiny of Smithfield sale to the Chinese

A bipartisan coalition of 15 senators led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday to include the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration in the review of the proposed purchase of Smithfield foods so that the oversight process includes experts on the American food supply and food safety.

The proposed acquisition by Shuanghui International, a Chinese food company, will undergo a national security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and the Treasury secretary has the authority to add the agencies to the review process, Stabenow noted in a news release.

In a letter to Lew, the senators added, “Further, any CFIUS 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.”