Smithfield Foods, Exposed

| 6/25/2009 11:18:37 AM

Tags: food safety, land stewardship, industrial agriculture, livestock welfare, food and agricultural policy,

Poor Pig 

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking that we’re overly critical of factory farms, take a moment to read this nauseating profile of Smithfield Foods’ hog farms from Rolling Stone magazine. 

Author Jeff Tietz reports that “Smithfield estimates that its total sales will reach $11.4 billion this year. So prodigious is its fecal waste, however, that if the company treated its effluvia as big-city governments do — even if it came marginally close to that standard — it would lose money.” That’s a lot of poop, people. 

The article goes on to tell about farms littered with pig carcasses (as many as ten percent of factory-farm hogs die before slaughter due to the conditions in which they live, according to one study), and about people succumbing to the fumes from hog waste lagoons. Lagoons, which, according to Tietz, contain a combination of toxic substances such as ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, cyanide, phosphorous, nitrates and heavy metals (not to mention  your typical gut-wrenchers: salmonella, cryptosporidium, streptocolli and giardia). 

If, like any good capitalist, you want to send Smithfield a message by avoiding its products, here’s a list of brands that sell their meat. What is Paula Deen thinking, y’all?

Photo by iStockphoto/Bruce Works 

9/28/2010 9:03:11 PM

This is in reference to the comment left by chantel chapman_1. I can provide a reference for the Smithfield Factory Farm. There is a documentary called Food Inc. Check it out. I think everyone should watch it. Maybe they would view what they consume differently.

4/24/2010 9:06:29 AM

I have been a vegetarian for almost 40 years, my choice, never pushed my beliefs on anyone. It seems that more and more people are joining the fight against the factory farm and what they are doing to the folks that "enjoy" their meat. Glad for them!! They have courage to speak out and try to make changes. If not for the animals, for themselves. Keep going folks, Email these monsters, write letters, do what you can. Stay healthy, take care.

chantel chapman_1
4/21/2010 10:53:12 AM

I hate to be the dissenter, but I wouldn't call this very good journalism. If any of this information is true, then where are the references? You can't write convict a person, because you claim a friend of yours was talking to Bobby Jo, who heard from his second cousin twice removed that so and so robbed a bank. I am not a proponent of factory farms, but if you can't back up what you claim, or you don't provide specific information, then chances are you'll be the one to look like a fool, when the more prepared person provides evidence to the contrary, with their sources. The point: Be an informed consumer. Don't take someone else's word, base your conclusion on the actual studies and scientific research.

7/15/2009 8:52:27 PM

Just say NO! Don't eat meat. I stopped eating meat because I came to a realization that all of the processed meats are a huge contributing factor in the three major killers in the United States of America, Cancer, Heart Disease, and Diabetes. There are many other choices to get your protein from.

7/10/2009 9:18:40 AM

I want to put a plug in for local farmers, farmers markets. Luckily I'm live in a city where it is available. Support the small farmer. Better produce, meat and service. Not to mention a face to talk to.

cynthia reed_2
7/9/2009 12:14:48 AM

As I find myself trying to go more and more green and having medical issues preventing a large consumption of protien I find myself looking for more and more ideas for being prepared for a loss in the economy. Somehow that doesn't seem to make much sense but I am trying hard to put by a years supply of food. I don't know much about farming being a city girl and living in a subdivision I can't have animals at the house. The HOA would have a fit. I have discovered TVP, Textured Vegetable Protein which comes in several flavors and works well with anything remotely resembling a casserole or ground meat. It is something good for you as well as tasty. Not quite as good as the real thing, but fairly economical. Will be using more of it out of my food storage.

7/6/2009 11:33:55 AM

Does not matter how you spell all comes out the same G..R..E..E..D. I just visited Paula DEEN's website and called her out on her support of Smithfield Foods. I provided a link to the article. It will be very interesting to see if it is read by her or one of her minions. Smithfield Foods is inhumane in their treatment of not only the poor animals but their employees as well. The only way to make a change is to spread the word, boycott and hit them where they feel it their wallet!!

linda pierucki
7/3/2009 11:18:09 AM

This article doesnt mention whether this hog farm is in the US-Smithfield also has pigs raised on Mexican farms. The pig farm they blamed for the swine flu outbreak in Mexico was a Smithfield farm. And Smithfield is no different than any of the other major meat producers in their practices: truckers who pick these pigs up for slaughter call them pig prisons.If the producers didnt pump them full of antibiotics, these hogs would never survive to market weight. At least, the US has some standards for factory farming, bad as they are. Mexico has far less regulation and that's part of the reason they outsource to there. Big farming makes big political contributions and they get what they pay for. Both republicans and democrats are equally guilty here-dont let them tell you otherwise. We-and the people of Mexico-get relatively cheap meat at a horrible cost to both people and the environment, not to mention the hogs. Of course, food imported from China is even more dangerous to us. Local, small-size farming and locally-produced (within a few state area) is the only way to go. But, until you can get the politicians under control, there's no hope of safe, humanely-produced meat.

6/30/2009 1:17:20 AM

Omigod! This is what I've been trying to tell people. A lot of these farm giants do not call on vets when farm animals are sick or injured, because afterall, "They're gonna die so might as well save me some money!" Some farm managers jump on these pigs who don't grow to the "expected weight for slaughter". And pigs are crippled from lack of exercise, etc, amongst many other things. TIME PEOPLE WAKE UP!!! Are you going to stuff yourself with sick meat? Unhappy animals cannot be healthy foods! Sadly, I don't see Obama doing anything ABOUT THIS!!! Kudos again for Alison Rogers' for bringing emphasis to this issue!!

6/29/2009 2:08:15 PM

This is appalling! I have tried the Smithfield bulk sausage once - didn't care for it - I would not buy it again - especially now! But Butterball........? I had not idea they were a Smithfield company - shocking! I have recently found a local certified farmers network and all the participants practice sustainable farming and livestock practices. For 50 years I have raised my own beef cattle for my table along with vegetables. Now turkeys are next - no more Butterball. Thank you for the info!

6/28/2009 11:59:02 AM

Yeah, I caught that one MC. Responsibly?! Did you see the "awards" they've received? If that's "award winning" environmental responsibility, I'd really hate to see the producers that "need improvement." Real shame too - I really liked Farmland bacon a lot, but I just can't support this. Just one more reason to stick with local/home grown.

6/28/2009 11:14:53 AM

Food Inc. highlights Smithfield Farms and many other factory farms that are causing major damage to our environment, bodies and communities. It also shows independent farmers who are raising their hogs without the factory farm mentality. Please support this film and quit buying from Smithfield Farms!!!

6/26/2009 12:59:25 PM

Thank you for posting this. Precisely why we purchase all of our meat from local farmers by the quarter or half. The meat is insanely tasty, and in the case of pork, actually quite inexpensive. Go here to search your area for local farmers:

6/26/2009 12:56:42 AM

Nah-- she's just thinking about doing what she does. Just another product of suburbia. I'm not taking up for her-- or any of them. As I wake up, I become more and more nauseated by-- and less and less able to tolerate-- all of them. Puke. Here's a nice irony no one else seems to have picked up on. "Good food. Responsibly." Nice logo. Makes one wonder what "responsibility" is these days. A walking argument for self-reliance. Because most Americans *still* can't afford to eat in the absense of gov't subsidies and factory agriculture.

6/25/2009 7:35:02 PM

She's thinking what every other corporate person thinks-show me the money!!!!

tom roberts
6/25/2009 3:55:50 PM

I believe that's Paula "Deen", not "Dean", ya'll.

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