NEW INFO: Smithfield CEO Defends Deal With Chinese Company

Lawmakers want to know more about a possible acquisition involving a China company and Virginia-based Smithfield foods, the world's biggest pork producer, with plants here in Eastern North Carolina.

Wednesday Smithfield CEO Larry Pope defended the deal to members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He said it would not compromise American food safety or security and also promised the planned purchase would not result in any U.S. imports of food from China.

The proposed purchase is worth nearly $6 billion.

The committee on foreign investments is reviewing the deal which is subject to federal approval.

A Virginia-based pork producer that has multiple plants in Eastern Carolina is getting sold to a company in China in a multi-billion dollar deal.

Smithfield Foods is to be acquired by China's Shuanghui in a $4.7 billion deal.

The company is currently headquartered in Smithfield, Va., but it employs people at plants in Kinston, Wilson, Tar Heel and Clinton.

It's not clear how the sale of Smithfield Foods will impact jobs at the company's various locations. The company announced plans in 2011 to close one plant in Virginia in 2013 and shift production to a facility in Kinston in Lenoir County. Smithfield said the new $100 million facility in Kinston would hire 300 workers. According to the Lenoir County Economic Development Commission, the site in Kinston employs between 350 - 500 workers.

According to the company website, Smithfield Foods was started in 1936.