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Meatpacking Giants Avoid Antitrust Cartel Suit, For Now

 |  September 29, 2020

JBS, Tyson Foods, Cargill, and National Beef Packing persuaded a federal judge in Minneapolis to tentatively toss antitrust claims over their alleged industry wide scheme to widen the “meat margin” between the cost of live cattle and the price of processed beef, reported Bloomberg Law

The ranchers and consumers who brought the case “do little to allege how the individual defendants acted,” instead “arguing that the market did this or that,” Judge John R. Tunheim wrote. That made it impossible to evaluate the “alternative economic explanations” offered by the meatpackers, he stated.

The lawsuit, filed in Minneapolis federal court on behalf of a Chicago grocer, alleged that the meatpackers, which together control more than 80% of the industry, used their position to limit the supply of cattle and fix the price of beef, leading to “historically high” margins in the market.

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