Members of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry have called for a review into Marfrig’s $969 million purchase of a majority stake in the US-based National Beef Packing Company.
Senators Debbie Stabenow, Chuck Grassley, Sherrod Brown and Joni Ernst have urged the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review the purchase in a letter sent to the US Treasury Department.
The senators claimed that concerns regarding food safety and security were their main concerns with the acquisition, citing the 2017 ‘carne fraca’ corruption scandal which engulfed the Brazilian meat industry.
The scandal saw several Brazilian meat producers export potentially contaminated or rotten meat, and led to the US and other countries banning imports of fresh beef from Brazil.
The group of senators said: “The security, safety, and resiliency of our food system is integral to the overall security of our nation.
“In light of recent acquisitions of U.S. food and agriculture companies such as Smithfield by Shuanghui in 2013 and the acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina in 2016, it has become increasingly clear that growing foreign investment in U.S. agriculture requires a thorough review process to safeguard the American food system.“
“While this Committee has not reached any conclusions regarding the proposed purchase of National Beef by Marfrig, any foreign acquisition of an important US agricultural asset should be reviewed closely for potential risks to our food system.
“For instance, we are concerned that this proposed transaction comes following the 2017 corruption scandal in Brazil’s food safety system that revealed unacceptable safety and quality issues with Brazilian beef intended for the American market, including shipments from Marfrig.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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