The largest Chinese meat producer, Shuanghui International, has announced it will purchase the United States' largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods Incorporated. This purchase is the latest in a series of actions over the last decade that more closely tie together global meat producing countries and companies. China is the world's largest consumer of pork, and its government increasingly supports the U.S. model of factory style animal raising (including limited breeds and antibiotic use) for scaling up meat production and addressing food safety issues. Experts predict rising meat and dairy demand in China. What do these shifts mean for meat and dairy production in China, the U.S., and the world? What does it mean for health, the environment and rural communities?
IATP's Jim Harkness and Shefali Sharma have just returned from China, where they met with government, industry, academic and NGO representatives tracking the meat industry—and visited pig and poultry farms. Jim Harkness is the president of IATP and lived in China for 16 years. Shefali Sharma has been following global agriculture and trade issues for more than a decade. IATP is currently investigating the global meat industry, particularly the intersections between companies in the U.S., China and Brazil.