Legislation is one step closer to addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries
The legislation proposed by U.S. Senators Mike Rounds, Jon Tester and Chuck Grassley will address anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries that hurt consumers and producers, threaten the nation’s food supply and endanger America’s food security.
“Anticompetitive behavior in the meat packing industry hurts both consumers and producers,” said Rounds. “Unfortunately, packer concentration in the beef industry is more consolidated today than it was when the Packers and Stockyards Act was first signed into law over 100 years ago. It’s long past time to address this problem.”
“Anticompetitive behavior by the large meatpackers have raised prices on consumers and pushed family ranchers out of business, said Tester. Now we need to put this bill on the Senate floor so we can make sure there is fair competition in the marketplace because when free markets work, consumers see lower prices at the meat counter, producers get a fair return on their product, and our economy grows stronger in rural America and across the country.”
“Iowa cattle producers have struggled to receive a fair price for years – long before inflation hit a 40-year high,” explains Grassley.
The senators’ Meat Packing Special Investigator Act would create the “Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters” within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Packers and Stockyards Division.
The new USDA special investigator will have a team of investigators, with subpoena power, dedicated to preventing and addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and enforcing our nation’s antitrust laws. They will coordinate and act in consultation with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a new bridge between the USDA and the Department of Homeland Security to protect the continuation of the food supply and increase national security. With a team of dedicated staff, the USDA will now have the ability to investigate the tough issues facing producers.
Rounds, Tester and Grassley have led efforts to combat corporate consolidation and protect the livelihood of family farmers and ranchers. All three joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in demanding the Department of Justice investigate whether the control large meatpackers have over the beef processing market violates U.S. antitrust laws and principles of fair competition.
Click Meat Packing Special Investigator Act _Final for full bill text.