The Senate Agriculture Committee held hearings Wednesday on the proposed purchase of Smithfield Foods by Shuanghui International Holdings, China’s largest meat producer. Lawmakers expressed concern that the deal would cause more US meat to be shipped to China, and make the US susceptible to the food safety concerns that have been endemic to China in recent years.

Smithfield CEO Larry Pope also fielded questions about about intellectual property concerns and the long-term impact of the deal on US agriculture. Pope cautioned that the US would not import Chinese meat as a result of the deal, adding the merger would have “no noticeable impact on how we do business in America and around the world, except that we will do more of it.”  The proposed $4.7 deal would be the largest takeover of a US firm by a Chinese one.