Legislation to protect US food interests after foreign buys

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Food Food security

Two US Senators have called for agriculture and food officials to have permanent representation on a committee that reviews proposed mergers and acquisitions of American companies.

Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan introduced the bipartisan legislation concerning the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

The job of CFIUS is to assess whether or not transactions by foreign entities threaten to impair US national security interests.

The panel does not include permanent representation from the US Department of Agriculture or the US Department of Health and Human Services (which oversaes the Food and Drug Administration) - the two units with primary responsibility for safeguarding the food supply.

Grassley said it’s important to consider who will control the food supply. 

“Today, there may not be a food shortage in the world, only distribution problems that are more the result of politics not logistics, but in the decades to come, it may be a different story.

“The approval by CFIUS of the sale of US agricultural assets seem more focused on the present state of the food industry instead of the future supply situation.”

The “Food Security is National Security Act of 2017” includes agriculture and food-related criteria for CFIUS to consider when reviewing deals that could result in control of a US business by a foreign company.

Stabenow said as foreign entities continue acquisitions of US food and agriculture companies it’s imperative that transactions face additional scrutiny.

“This bill ensures that the US has the appropriate tools and people in place to safeguard America’s food security, food safety, biosecurity, and the highly competitive US farm sector as a whole.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union support the act.

“Monitoring and evaluating the effects of mergers and acquisitions in agriculture as well as food production and distribution is critical and the Secretary of Agriculture would bring vital knowledge to the table,”​ said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau.

Related topics Food safety & quality

Related news

Follow us


View more