SMITHFIELD, Va. – C. Larry Pope, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods, is testifying today before the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. He intends to review the benefits of the planned Shuanghui-Smithfield transaction for US farmers and agriculture and to reaffirm the commitment to uphold the highest food-safety standards, according to a news release.
Pope plans to explain the combined company's commitment to continuing to work with American hog producers and suppliers who have played an integral role in Smithfield's success.
"With respect to agriculture, we expect this transaction to drive growth and expansion not only for our growers, but for the entire US pork industry,” Pope said. “Smithfield Foods owns over 400 hog farms and has contracts with more than 2,000 family farmers across the country. Our agreement with Shuanghui will maintain all of these contracts and arrangements. Moreover, this transaction creates a terrific opportunity through growth in exports for US hog farmers to expand production to meet the growing Chinese demand."
Pope also intends to underscore the combined company's commitment to food safety as its highest priority.
"The integrity of our brands, our record of safety, the safety of the US food supply chain and the recognized effectiveness of US food-safety standards are key drivers of the value that Shuanghui places on Smithfield,” Pope said. “Our brands are recognized as representing the highest-quality, safest and most sought-after products throughout the world, including in China. Our combined company has every incentive to ensure the continued safety and excellence of our products and brands.
“Smithfield's facilities will continue to maintain their quality and will experience the same rigorous level of USDA FSIS inspection, regardless of the ownership of this company,” he added. “Absolutely nothing about how our products are made, inspected or distributed will change."
During testimony, Pope plans to iterate Shuanghui's commitment to maintaining Smithfield's operations, staff and management.
"Shuanghui intends to retain Smithfield's management team, its plants and its employees,” Pope insists. “Shuanghui recognizes Smithfield's best-in-class operations, outstanding food-safety practices and 46,000 hard-working employees. There should be no noticeable impact on how we do business operationally in America and around the world as a result of this transaction, except that we will do more of it."
Pope’s prepared testimony is available on the Investors and Media sections of www.smithfieldfoods.com. For more information on Shuanghui International, visit www.shuanghui-international.com.