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Why was a Chinese company allowed to purchase Smithfield Farms? Would it be possible to stop exports from a Chinese owned company to China, even during a pandemic? The purchase of Smithfield Farms, by a Chinese company, occurred when Obama was President and the CFIUS decision could have been vetoed, from our understanding. The CFIUS chair was Jacob Lew, who followed Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. What about Brazilian JBS? Would it be possible to stop them from exporting their products from the USA to China or anywhere else?

In an attempt to justify operating meatpacking plants under dangerous conditions, Smithfield and Tyson warned that reduced operations and worker absenteeism would cause an imminent meat shortage,4 but these fears were baseless. For example, just three days after Smithfield Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ken Sullivan publicly warned that the closure of a Smithfield plant was “pushing our country perilously close to the edge in terms of our nation’s meat supply,”5 he asked industry representatives to issue a statement that “there was plenty of meat, enough . . . to export,”6 while Smithfield told meat importers the same.7 When discussing Smithfield’s statements about the meat supply, industry representatives described Sullivan as “intentionally scaring people,” “whipp[ing] everyone into a frenzy,” and creating a “mess” that others would have to “clean up.”8 Numerous public reports corroborate that there was no meat shortage during this time.9…

Indeed, numerous public reports indicate that meatpacking companies had abundant inventory during this time—inventory that they could have used to supply domestic grocery shelves. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, meatpackers held 622 million pounds of frozen pork as of March 31, 2020—an amount well above levels predating the pandemic.74 During the first three quarters of 2020, Smithfield exported 90 percent more pork to China than it did during the same period of 2017, while JBS appears to have exported a whopping 370 percent more.75 The amount of total U.S. pork exports in April 2020 was higher than amounts exported during the same month in each of the preceding three years.76 …

Note 9 “According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, meatpackers held 622 million pounds of frozen pork as of March 31, 2020—an amount well above the norm—while exports of pork by companies such as Smithfield and JBS surged during the first three quarters of 2020 to well above pre-pandemic levels. See Steve Suppan, Cold Hard (Storage) Facts About Meatpacker Threats of Scarcity, Institute for Agriculture Trade and Policy (May 1, 2020) (online at https://www.iatp.org/blog/202005/cold-hard-storage-facts-about-meatpacker-threats-scarcity); Surge in U.S. Pork Exports to China Led by Brazil’s JBS, China’s WH Group, Reuters (Sept. 22, 2020) (online at http://www.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trade-china-pork/surge-in-u-s-pork-exports-to-china-led-by-brazils-jbs-chinas-wh-group-idUKKCN26D300). The study’s found here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/sites/democrats.coronavirus.house.gov/files/2022.5.12%20-%20SSCC%20report%20Meatpacking%20FINAL.pdf

DeLauro Statement on Meatpackers Baseless Shortage Claims
May 12, 2022 Press Release
House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today condemned the U.S. meatpacking industry following reports that it pressed “baseless” claims of beef and pork shortages earlier in the pandemic to persuade the Trump Administration to keep operations running.

“The report released by the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis is damning,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Not only does it highlight the meatpacking industry’s baseless claims that jeopardized the health and livelihoods of hundreds of workers, it demonstrates their willingness to price gouge American consumers in the name of ‘inflation’. Meatpackers warned us in April 2020 that the closure of plants to protect workers’ health would threaten the domestic food supply chain, but that same month U.S. pork exports were at an all-time high.”

“At least 284 workers died across the meatpacking industry between 2020 and 2021. Americans continue to face rising costs at their local grocery store,” DeLauro continued. “Meatpackers need to answer for this deception, be held accountable for endangering workers, and must immediately lower food costs for working families. We need an economy that works for all, not just the wealthy and richest corporations. We need to put people over profits – period.”

Across the country, many meat processing plants have become COVID-19 hotspots. To date, more than 57,000 meatpacking workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 284 have died this past year, according to the Food and Environment Reporting Network. https://thefern.org/2020/04/mapping-covid-19-in-meat-and-food-processing-plants/

According to a recent study conducted by the National Employment Law Project, there have been more deaths related to COVID-19 in meat and poultry plants in 2020 than other work-related deaths in the past 15 years in the same industry. https://s27147.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/Testimony-of-Debbie-Berkowitz-NELP-Before-House-Subcommittee-on-Labor-HHS-Ed-and-related-agencies.pdf

As Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Congresswoman DeLauro held hearings on best practices to protect the health and safety of meatpacking, poultry, and agricultural workers https://appropriations.house.gov/news/statements/chair-delauro-statement-at-health-and-safety-protections-for-meatpacking-poultry-and

She also introduced the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act, legislation that would suspend all current and future USDA waivers and regulations that allow companies to increase production line speeds at meatpacking plants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congresswoman DeLauro has urged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to hold the meatpacking industry accountable for perpetuating unsafe conditions for workers.
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CFIUS is responsible for investigating foreign purchases of US companies:
Jacob Lew appears to have been chair of CFIUS when the Smithfield purchase was approved.
Secretive U.S. panel eyes China’s Smithfield dealhttps://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/06/09/smithfield-foods-pork-foreign-investment/2396187/

JBS is privately owned by Brazilians:

Smithfield is owned by a Chinese company. Approved by CFIUS 2013 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WH_Group https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wan_Long_(businessman)

Mentioned in the report: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindy_Brashears


DeLauro’s husband: “Greenberg’s 1985 study of Reagan Democrats in Macomb County, Michigan, became a classic of progressive political strategy and the basis for his continuing argument that Democrats must actively work to present themselves as populists advocating the expansion of opportunity for the middle class.”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Greenberg

The Select Subcommittee Coronavirus Crisis Chair is US Congressman Clyburn. However, there are Republican members, as well as Dem. ones:
While Clyburn was the Biden kingmaker, all of the other Dem presidential choices appeared as bad or worse than Biden.