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Sen Hawley Targets The Meat-Packing Industry, Says It’s Dominated By A Handful Of Massive Firms

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Sen. Josh Hawley is now targeting another powerful industry a day after asking Attorney General Bill Barr to open an antitrust investigation against Amazon.

The meat processing industry is consolidating power, and in the process giving the bulk of the food supply chain to a handful of conglomerates, the Missouri Republican wrote in a letter Wednesday to the Federal Trade Commission. Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin co-wrote the letter with Hawley, who asked the Department of Justice to probe Amazon over data issues.

“The domination of a select few companies in the American meatpacking industry is cause for serious concern,” they wrote before noting that Tyson Foods, Cargill, JBS S.A., and Smithfield Foods effectively own 85 percent of the meat market. President Donald Trump ordered food processing plants to remain open amid a pandemic that has killed more than 55,000 people in the United States.

“As a result, farmers cannot process their livestock—which are costly to maintain—and consumers risk seeing shortages at grocery stores, exacerbating the food insecurity that all too many Americans are currently experiencing,” they added. “These harms might have been mitigated if the meatpacking industry was less concentrated.”

Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods, for their part, issued dire warnings in recent days as officials close down a select number of plants over coronavirus infection concerns.

Tyson Foods’s board chairman John Tyson, for instance, wrote in an ad Sunday that farmers will be left in the dust and “millions of animals — chickens, pigs and cattle ”will be taken out of the market as a result of f Tyson processing center closures. Tyson Foods closed plants in Logansport, Indiana, and Waterloo, Iowa, where at least 182 cases of the virus originated.

Hawley and Baldwin step into the fray amid the turmoil.

“The FTC has the power to shed light on these growing competition and security problems in our food supply,” they wrote in the letter. “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.”

The comment was likely a veiled reference to Smithfield Foods, which was purchased by China’s WH Group purchase in 2013 for $4.7 billion. Smithfield Foods retooled processing operations to direct meat to China after a pig disease killed millions of hogs and turned the communist country into a major importer.

Hawley’s been on a tear recently after suggesting in a letter to Barr Tuesday that Amazon represents an “existential threat” to small American retailers. Hawley is one of Silicon Valley’s most stringent critics over the past two years as he and others poke and prod federal authorities to turn their sights on Google and Amazon over antitrust issues.

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3 Comments

  1. Several years ago there was a TV feature on Tyson’s chicken processing plants that made it impossible for me to even eat chicken for ages and even now I won’t touch a Tyson Label.
    I grew up in rural America and am very familiar with ‘butchering’ of beef, pork & chicken so it wasn’t the blood and guts that got to me….it was the way it was handled in processing.

    On the other hand, Smithfield acted immediately to close the original plant where COVID was found. Their website give full details on steps to correction…as well as the plan to follow up in all of their facilities. Which meant they had to close them down for a period to disinfect and institute new safety precautions for workers and consumers that go well above required standards…

    Smithfield is FAR from the only China investments in this country….Oil Service Industry, Sports teams, & food are just the tip.

    The consumer products from some of these meat processing plants is a great deal LESS dangerous than the self centered people that are rushing back to whatever they conceive as ‘normal’ risking infecting my loved one and creating a 2nd round of COVID-19

  2. It was swept under the rug till now , because the deamonrats, and rino’s were, and are getting their pockets lined by the chicoms. Never mind the American citizen, we are only useful in getting them into office so they can run amuck.

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