While all eyes are on Ukraine, China continues undermining America's well-being

If you travel, you know that one of the things that countries and states zealously check for is smuggling prohibited foods.  That sounds neurotic and protectionist, but it's an important part of securing a country's food supply.  If pests, parasites, or diseases migrate into a nation's food supply, it can destroy entire farming sectors and even lead to famine.  That's why it matters that China has been caught smuggling hundreds of thousands of pounds of potentially contaminated meats into America.  (Hat tip: FrontPage Mag.)

I first fully understood the problem of a contaminated food supply in the early 1980s when I learned that England's cattle had been contaminated with Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (AKA mad cow disease).  News of it broke not long after I returned to America following a college year in England.  Having eaten beef in England (although not much because I couldn't afford it), I neurotically worried for some years after that I might find myself afflicted with the disease.  As it turned out, I avoided that scourge, but over the next few years, the British slaughtered over four million cattle, and numerous countries banned British beef.  It was a tragedy and an economic disaster for farmers.

Thus, there is nothing foolish about countries rigorously policing any contaminants that might get into the food supply.  But little things like rules don't stop the Chinese.  After all, they've already flooded America with fentanyl and COVID, so why shouldn't we also be a target of potentially dangerous meats?

More than 262,000 pounds of prohibited meat products have been seized from the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport so far this year.

262,237 pounds of pork, chicken, beef and duck have been seized so far by agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency reported Monday.

It marks a 33% increase over the same period last year.

CBP has seen a "staggering" increase in the amount of prohibited meat coming from China which has been intercepted at the L.A. seaport.

In 2021, the CBP seized 786,000 pounds of prohibited animal products, an 80% increase from 2020.

Nor are the risks from these smuggled Chinese products hypothetical.  In fact, not only is China the incubator of COVID, along with every annual flu, but it also has a whole host of icky meat diseases:

According to the USDA, animals in China can be affected by diseases such as African Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth Disease and Swine Vesicular Disease.


There is a fear that countries whose animals are infected with ASF can spread the virus to cattle in the U.S., potentially crippling the domestic pork industry, CBP said.

There is an irony associated with this risk.  Smithfield Foods, founded in Virginia in 1936, is the world's largest pig processing plant in the world.  Wikipedia offers a rundown on its statistics, and they are amazing.  Here are just a few (hyperlinks and end notes omitted):

Founded in 1936 as the Smithfield Packing Company by Joseph W. Luter and his son, the company is the largest pig and pork producer in the world. In addition to owning over 500 farms in the US, Smithfield contracts with another 2,000 independent farms around the country to grow Smithfield's pigs. Outside the US, the company has facilities in Mexico, Poland, Romania, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Globally the company employed 50,200 in 2016 and reported an annual revenue of $14 billion. Its 973,000-square-foot meat-processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, was said in 2000 to be the world's largest, processing 32,000 pigs a day.

Wow!  And I know people who believe that a good Smithfield ham is a little slice of heaven.

Image: Pigs by aleksandarlittlewolf.  Freepik license.

But here's the kicker: since 2013, Smithfield ceased being an all-American company and became a Chinese-owned company when the Shuanghui Group, China's largest meat processor, purchased it (with the Obama government's approval).  That should worry us, just as China's other purchases of America's food suppliers should worry us.

Ironically enough, however, because China owns America's largest pig processing facilities, it is China that will be most affected should the meat China smuggles onto American soil have "African Swine Fever, Foot and Mouth Disease and Swine Vesicular Disease."  For once, China will be completely hoist with its own petard.  Before I start gloating, though, so will the rest of us, as our food supply will suddenly and disastrously contract.

China is an impressive nation, with natural and man-made beauties, and a resilient, hardworking population.  It's also a major troublemaker that has cleverly spent years buying off those in America — politicians, entertainment and news outlets, and celebrities — who should be protecting us but, instead, are happily allowing China to destroy our manufacturing sector; unleash dangerous pandemics; and, now, seriously threaten our food supply.  We need a new class of movers and shakers before we are moved and shaken into oblivion.

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