Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Grocery Co$t$ to be PERMANENTLY HIGH because of Chinese-owned $mithfield Food$

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, June 28, 2022

史密斯菲尔德食品

Wan Long, RIGHT, Chairman and CEO of WH Group, formerly called Shuanghui International, shakes hands with Charles Larry Pope, President and CEO of Smithfield Foods, at a press conference of WH Group in Hong Kong, China, 14 April 2014.
Two subsidiaries of Henan Shuanghui Investment and Development Co have gained access to the Russian market, after its parent company — WH Group Ltd, the world’s largest pork producer— acquired US pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc and bought a stake in Campofrio Food Group SA of Spain, the largest pan-European packaged meat products company, last year. The two Heilongjiang-based companies — Wangkui Shuanghui Beidahuang Food Co and Heilongjiang Baoquanling Shuanghui Food Industry Co — got the official nod after their production facilities and products were examined and assessed by officials from Russia’s meat products watchdog, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, in August, Shuanghui Development said on its website. To widen its import market for meat, the Russian government agreed to import meat products from five Chinese suppliers by the end of August, indicating the nation has taken a flexible strategy to balance the supply and demand relationship, while the US and its European allies are trying to squeeze the country’s trade space in the world market.

Chinese translated as “Smithfield Food”

Amidst the cacophony of overall price inflation in fuel, food, and other items, there are numerous underlying and related causes.

There are not merely one, two, or even three contributing problems to this lingering miasma, and rather, like a line of dominoes tumbling, one after another, significantly increased prices in consumer goods are taking a toll on Americans, whose incomes — unlike those of CEOs, and other high-level corporate executives — have not risen in response.

Consider food.

The United States Department of Agriculture found national slaughter capacity reductions [i.e., the CLOSING of abattoirs/processors/slaughterhouses] in pork, and cattle, of 35-40%, and 30-40%, respectively, which have translated to hyper-inflated costs to consumers.


NOTE: Big Oil has done similarly. They’ve closed their oil refineries & capped wells, thereby creating a false shortage, and simultaneously INCREASED prices, resulting in record profits not seen since the 1950’s.

THAT is why fuel prices are sky high.

There is NO OTHER REASON.

The Energy Information Administration has a page dedicated to Refinery Utilization and Capacity in the United States which shows that 679 oil refineries were closed and not utilized in 2021 — the GREATEST number ever, since 1985.

For more detailed information, see this entry: https://warmsouthernbreeze.wordpress.com/2022/06/28/energy-information-administration-data-shows-how-big-oil-is-abusing-consumers/


But business practices, related closures and production slowdowns in abattoirs and processing facilities have their roots elsewhere in time, and policy.

On June 10th, 2022, the communist Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods announced the following:

Smithfield Foods, Inc. today announced that it will cease all harvest and processing operations in Vernon, California in early 2023 and, at the same time, align its hog production system by reducing its sow herd in its Western region. The company will decrease its sow herd in Utah and is exploring strategic options to exit its farms in Arizona and California. Smithfield harvests only company-owned hogs in Vernon. Smithfield will service customers in California with its Farmer John brand and other brands and products from existing facilities in the Midwest.

(see: https://www.smithfieldfoods.com/press-room/2022-06-10-Smithfield-Foods-to-Close-Vernon%2c-CA-Facility-Reduce-Hog-Production-in-Western-Region/)

• A little less than a year ago, in early July 2021, Smithfield settled (for $83M) a Class Action Federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota accusing it of price-fixing, and violating anti-trust laws.
(see: https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=smithfield+%2483+million+settlement+price+fixing)

The case is a Class Action entitled “In re Pork Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, No. 18-01776.” (see: https://www.mnd.uscourts.gov/content/pork-antitrust-litigation-mdl)
(see also: https://www.docketalarm.com/cases/Minnesota_District_Court/0–18-cv-01776/IN_RE_PORK_ANTITRUST_LITIGATION/1254/)

“… Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to artificially constrict the supply of pork products in the domestic market of the United States.”

“… Defendants conspired to constrain the supply, and fix the price, of pork from at least 2009 through the commencement of the present action.”

“… AgriStats provided highly sensitive “benchmarking” reports to most pork integrators, thereby allowing competitors to compare their profits or performance against that of other companies.”

“… Defendants, through their co-conspirator, AgriStats, exchanged detailed, competitively sensitive, and closely guarded non-public information about price, capacity, sales volume, and demand.”

“The effect of this anti-competitive exchange of non-public information allegedly allowed pork integrators to control the supply and price of pork.”

“The pork wholesalers leading antitrust litigation over an alleged industrywide price-fixing scheme won preliminary approval from a federal judge in Minneapolis for their $83 million settlement with Smithfield Foods Inc.

“Judge John R. Tunheim signed off tentatively Wednesday on the agreement, which would resolve class action claims brought by “direct purchasers” in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, though not parallel allegations on behalf of restaurants or consumers.

“Tunheim called the deal “reasonable” and “adequate,” saying there were “no obvious reasons to doubt its fairness.” He scheduled a final fairness hearing for Jan. 27.”

(see: “Smithfield’s $83 Million Pork Cartel Settlement Gets Initial Nod,” August 5, 2021, 1:46 PM, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/white-collar-and-criminal-law/smithfields-83-million-pork-cartel-settlement-gets-initial-nod)

• In May 2013, Smithfield Foods, the formerly American company founded in 1936 based in Smithfield, Virginia — which also owns brands Armour, Gwaltney, Eckrich, Farmland, Kretschmar, Carando, Cook’s, Curly’s, Margherita, John Morrell, and Healthy Ones, among others — sold out for US$4.72 billion (including debt, the total deal valued the firm at $7.1 billion) to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., which is China’s biggest pork producer, then-owned & controlled by Wan Long, a communist Chinese-government-backed then-73-year old multi-billionaire owner, who was then Chairman and CEO of WH Group, and with an approximately 16% ownership stake, the firm’s largest individual shareholder.
(see: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferwang/2020/04/16/the-chinese-billionaire-whose-company-owns-troubled-pork-processor-smithfield-foods/)

Smithfield’s sale price to communist Chinese interests was US$4.72 billion (including the purchase of debt made the TOTAL overall price US$7.1B), and was publicly announced as being done “to boost supplies for the nation that’s the biggest consumer of the meat,” referring to China.

“Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s largest pork producer by sales volume, has agreed to be acquired by Shuanghui International Holdings, a privately owned meat processing company headquartered in China, for $7.1 billion including debt, valuing the company’s equity at $34 per share. Although the deal still needs to receive shareholder and regulatory approvals, we believe it can have a significant impact on the North American meat industry as it will lead to higher pork prices in the U.S. Packaged meat companies like Hillshire Brands are expected to witness higher input costs and an improvement in volume market share in the long run as a result of this deal. … The Chinese company is looking to reduce supply uncertainties that come along with the scarcity of livestock feed in order to be able meet the rising demand at home. It also aims to reduce quality concerns at the same time by selling “American” meat to consumers in China.Higher exports to China will lead to higher domestic pork prices, which will increase the input costs of U.S. based packaged meat companies.”

(see: “China’s Hunger For Pork Will Impact The U.S. Meat Industry,” June 19, 2013, 02:14pm EDT, https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2013/06/19/chinas-hunger-for-pork-will-impact-the-u-s-meat-industry/)

A few months later, in January 2014, through Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Company, one of its subsidiaries, Shuanghui International Holdings changed its name to WH Group, which is owned by the Shanghui brand. The name “WH” is supposed to have come from “Wanzhou Holdings.”

Wan Long’s son, Wan Hongjian, is now the Deputy Chairman and Vice President of the group.

Since Smithfield’s 2013 sale to communist Chinese interests, the company has regularly been discovered to have violated numerous laws, including:

1.) Price-fixing (settled recently with the U.S. Government for $83M in a price-fixing scheme for conspiring to limit supply, inflate prices, and their profits, in the $20 billion annual U.S. pork market — see above), and;

2.) Credibly accused of, and confessed to, exporting American-raised pork to China by claiming such exports were exclusively offal (liver, brains, heart, stomach, trotters, ears, souse/head cheese, etc., i.e., non-muscle organs), and therefore of little interest to American consumers, were low-sales items, and a lesser priority.

Panjiva, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence, found that from January to March 2020, the communist Chinese-owned Smithfield was the single largest exporter of American-produced pork to communist China, and in March alone, shipped at least 13,680 tons by sea that month.

In fact, even before then, The Virginian-Pilot newspaper wrote in February 2020 that, “Smithfield Foods shipped so much pork to China recently that the only thing stopping it from sending more is the company ran out of blast freezer space in the area, according to the Port of Virginia’s Chief Sales Officer.”

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper wrote further that Smithfield’s pork exports ship out from the Port of Virginia in refrigerated containers, and were verified by Tom Capozzi, Chief Sales Officer for the Port of Virginia.

As of August 12, 2021, WH Group made several changes to its executive leadership, and replaced CEO Wan Long with Guo Lijun, including a new CFO, and other vice presidents within the company.

Going back even further, citing employees, local officials and industry sources, in November 2019, Reuters news service wrote an item that stated Smithfield was increasing production of pork at their Virginia facility, which was to be exported to China.

The article stated that “since late spring, pigs trucked to the plant have been slaughtered and sliced into thirds for shipment to China, where Chinese workers process the carcasses further, company employees and industry sources told Reuters. One plant worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “They got an order to fill: China.””

When asked about the company’s intentions, and if the reports were true, “Smithfield Foods declined to comment on the change or allow a reporter to visit the Virginia plant, which slaughters about 10,000 pigs a day.”

But, it’s NOT as if we weren’t warned about it all.

On May 30, 2013 at 6:44 AM, International Business Times published a news item headlined “Shuanghui: China’s Largest Meat Producer Is More Concerned With Its Domestic Market Rather Than Expanding Into The U.S.,” which stated in part that, “In 2011, China became the third-largest importer of U.S. pork, behind Japan and Mexico.” -and- “Smithfield raises 15 million and slaughters 27 million pigs each year, a large portion of which are exported to China, according to iFeng News, a Chinese news agency.”
(see: https://www.ibtimes.com/shuanghui-chinas-largest-meat-producer-more-concerned-its-domestic-market-rather-1283377)

But please… if all this has NOT convinced you yet about Smithfield’s intentions, please, read the testimony of Smithfield’s former CEO Larry Pope before the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry about Smithfield’s prospective sale to communist Chinese interests.

On July 10, 2013, C. Larry Pope, President & Chief Executive Officer, Smithfield Foods, testified before the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and in his opening remarks stated in part that,

“The new combined company expects to meet the growing demand for pork in China by exporting high-quality pork products from the US.

“This transaction will give Smithfield new channels to market and the strongest distribution network in China.

“Moreover, this transaction creates a terrific opportunity through growth in exports for US hog farmers to expand production to meet the growing Chinese demand.

“Smithfield has experienced tremendous growth over the last several years due primarily to increases in exports, especially to China.

“Growing exports is a key strategic objective for Smithfield. Exports currently account for 30 percent of our fresh pork revenue. Exports are also critical to the US industry on a whole, where exports have grown from 6.5 percent to 23 percent of total industry output in the last 15 years. And China is the fastest-growing and largest overseas market in terms of potential demand. … This transaction is about exporting high-quality meat products from the US to China to meet the growing global demand for pork and increase global food safety standards.

“The bottom line is that this is all about US exports to the Chinese market…

“Smithfield, as well as its competitors, will increase their ability to export to the fastest growing market in the world…”

(see: https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Testimony_Pope.pdf)

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