Straw Poll 2 to 1 Against Smithfield Deal

In a straw poll we took at last month's IFT Food Expo, visitors to our booth voted 26 to 12 (with one negative comment but not a clear vote) against the sale of Smithfield Foods to Chinese firm Shuanghui International.

The actual wording of the question was: "Do you think Smithfield Foods should be allowed to be sold to Chinese processor Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.?"

Admittedly it's not our most scientific or statistically defensible poll. And perhaps the vote was no surprise. The comments were no revelation, either, although they reflected the spectrum of feelings on this issue. Comments among the no votes:
* "Concerns on [the] impact of Chinese contamination issues if non-U.S. product flows into the U.S."
* "Too risky. Trade and safety issues."
* "I am not willing for my food source to be subject to Chinese food standards."
* "R&D done in the U.S. should stay in the U.S."
* "We need to stop patent buyouts."
* "What are [they] thinking? What will be our future?"

But in support of the deal:
* "If proper regulatory and QA/QC oversight is possible."
* "If the deal does not go against trade laws, then it is fine."

And two yes votes came with similar sentiments:
* "[Yes] But I don't like it on so many levels."

And finally:
* "Chickens [maybe the author meant pigs] coming home to roost!"

By the way, in our August print issue we will have pro and con guest columns on the Smithfield deal. Those columns will be posted online next week.