Patty Lovera or Jennifer Mueller
New Report Highlights the Trouble with Smithfield
Food & Water Watch corporate profile reveals the damaging environmental and public health impacts posed by the agribusiness giant
Washington, DC — A new report by consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch arms consumers with the facts about a major player in the meat business, Smithfield Foods. The group‚ new report, The Trouble With Smithfield: A Corporate Profile, details the damage the world’s largest pork producer has caused to the environment, animal welfare, public health, family farmers, and workers around the world.
“Smithfield is a threat to the future of agriculture everywhere,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Its continuous consolidation hurts farmers and consumers, and its factory farms put the environment, public health and animal welfare at risk. Just as important, Smithfield‚ treatment of its workers is inexcusable, as is its habit of pointing its pollution at poor rural communities.”
The company‚ opportunistic acquisitions and the failure of the federal government to enforce anti-trust laws have allowed Smithfield to dominate almost all aspects of pork production and processing.
The factory farms that the company owns or controls cram hundreds or thousands of pigs into long, warehouse-like barns. And all those hogs generate lots of waste. In 1997, the company received one of the largest Clean Water Act fines in history for failing to install adequate pollution control equipment.
In addition to environmental damage, Smithfield operations threaten the health of people living nearby who suffer from a wide range of ailments, including asthma, allergies, eye irritation, compromised immune function, depression and other disorders.
The company allegedly has broken workplace health and safety laws and is part of a long running high-profile dispute over worker injuries and rights to representation at a plant in North Carolina. In recent years, Smithfield has expanded into Eastern Europe, buying Poland‚ leading processing company and taking advantage of the country‚ lax environmental laws and cheap labor. The report recommends action by Congress and federal and state regulators to rein in this agribusiness giant, as well as telling consumers how to opt out of Smithfield‚ model of industrial pork production.
The Trouble With Smithfield: A Corporate Profile is available here.