Sens. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, and Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, called upon the Federal Trade Commission to launch an antitrust investigation into the meatpacking industry. The Wednesday letter by the farm-state senators was sent after President Trump's executive order declaring, under the Defense Production Act, that meat processing plants were part of the critical infrastructure of the United States.
H/T: Washington Examiner
“The FTC has the power to shed light on these growing competition and security problems in our food supply," Sens. Hawley and Baldwin wrote. "The Commission should ask probing questions about major meatpacking firms’ conduct, pricing, and contracting, as well as how their commitments to overseas interests impact the U.S. market and national security. Moreover, because a competitive food industry is so critical to the public interest, you should make the findings of any investigation public.”
"Between 1980 and 2009, the price a rancher was able to obtain per pound of beef declined from $1.97 to 93 cents (adjusted for inflation)," they said. "Likewise, between 1999 and 2008, real consumer prices for ground beef increased by 24 percent (adjusted for inflation), from a monthly average price of $1.89 a pound in 1999 to $2.34 a pound in 2008."
There are just FOUR companies processing 85% of beef in the US. And we are seeing an increased concentration of meat production into just a handful of plants.— Senator Hawley Press Office (@SenHawleyPress) April 29, 2020
As #coronavirus has shown, this is a threat to the stability of our supply & national security. https://t.co/kaKpWyis00
Sen. Josh Hawley is urging the Justice Department to open a criminal antitrust investigation into Amazon after a Wall Street Journal report detailed the company’s use of third-party seller data to develop its products https://t.co/AaVMpduQOC— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 28, 2020
.@HawleyMO @SenatorBaldwin have asked the @FTC to open an antitrust investigation into the meatpacking & processing industry — to analyze the practices and conduct of Cargill Inc., JBS SA, Smithfield Foods Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc. https://t.co/u2mBBBqDbQ— Kelli Ford (@KelliAFord) April 29, 2020
Read the full letter below.