Senators Seek Antitrust Investigation into Meatpackers

Two U.S. senators are asking the Federal Trade Commission to open an antitrust investigation into the meatpacking industry to “shed light on these growing competition and security problems.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) have say the industry is currently dominated by just a handful of large, multinational firms that have concentrated meat processing into fewer and fewer facilities, leaving America’s food supply chain vulnerable to disruptions. In a letter to the FTC, they note that the closing of three pork plants because of COVID-19 has resulted in the shutdown of 15 percent of America’s pork production “at a time when stable supply chains have become more critical than ever.”

Baldwin and Hawley say the FTC 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.