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Meatpacking Giants Face US Antitrust Probe

 |  May 10, 2020

The US Justice Department is investigating meatpacking companies for possible antitrust violations, according to a person familiar with the matter, as the industry comes under scrutiny over plant shutdowns that have disrupted the supply of meat, reported Bloomberg Law. 

The antitrust probe is in the early stages and began before the coronavirus outbreak spread across the US, said the person, who declined to be named because the investigation is confidential.

Meatpacking is highly consolidated with four companies — Tyson Foods, JBS SA, Cargill, and National Beef — controlling about 80% of the US beef processing market. Their dominance has sparked longstanding concerns about their pricing power over livestock suppliers. Meat packer margins have surged in the last month amid the plant closures, as beef prices rose and cattle prices stayed low.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday, May 6, said he would ask the Justice Department to investigate. His remark came after attorneys general from 11 states called for the Justice Department to investigate the industry for possible antitrust infractions and said they were ready to work with federal enforcers.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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