Department of Justice Issues Request to Meatpackers for Information
According to Bloomberg News, the Justice Department has delivered civil investigation requests to the largest four meatpackers, Tyson Foods, JBS SA, Cargill and National Beef Marketing.
State attorneys general from Missouri, Idaho, Arizona, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota requested U.S. Attorney General William Barr to investigate if anti-trust activity has occurred.
“The reports of the Department of Justice’s continued investigation into the meatpacking industry is encouraging news for cattle ranchers across America. The coronavirus pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of America’s food supply chain and accentuated the challenges beef producers face with a market that is controlled by the actions of a few, mostly foreign-based firms,” said Congressman Frank Lucas, R-Okla. in a press release.
Lucas led a bipartisan letter with 24 house colleagues to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue requesting he provide the findings of the Department’s beef pricing investigation to Congress as soon as possible. After the announcement of USDA’s Packers and Stockyard Division investigation in August 2019, Perdue extended USDA’s investigation last month to determine the causes of divergence between live beef and box prices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The DOJ’s investigation could shed light on these unsettling competition and security problems in our supply chain, and I join my fellow cattle ranchers in thanking the Department for the checks and balances on an increasingly competitive food industry. I urge U.S. Attorney General William Barr to share the findings of the Department’s investigation with Congress as soon as possible so that policymakers can address the concerns of their investigation and restore confidence back into cattle markets,” Lucas said.