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Smithfield CEO addresses concerns over deal

Michael Felberbaum, AP Business Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The head of Smithfield Foods Inc. is trying to ease concerns that the pork producer's proposed takeover by a Chinese company would pose risks to the U.S. food supply.

CEO Larry Pope testified Wednesday at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on the pending deal with Shuanghui International.

Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow says the proposed purchase of the Smithfield, Va.-based company raises many questions, including the impact on food safety and security.

Pope told the committee that the deal isn't about importing Chinese pork into the U.S. Instead, Pope says it's a chance to export into new markets with its brands, such as Smithfield, Armour and Farmland.

The deal valued at about $7.1 billion including debt is subject to federal and shareholder approvals, and is expected to close later this year.