Iowa, Nebraska attorneys general urge DOJ to inspect meat pricefixing

(WOWT)
Published: May. 5, 2020 at 1:40 PM CDT
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Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson and a bipartisan group of attorneys general from 9 other states on Tuesday urged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate suspected national price-fixing by meatpackers in the cattle industry, according to a statement issued by the attorneys general.

to U.S. Attorney General William Barr expressed concerns “over the likelihood of manipulation of the market for processed beef.”

The four largest meatpacking companies control more than 80 percent of beef processing in the country and the group remarked the price of beef is exceptionally high while cattle prices are low.

As beef prices have reached record levels during the COVID-19 pandemic and consumers stockpile meat in response, concerns have also arisen regarding the industry.

The attorneys general said pricing margins are a sign meatpackers are controlling the market for processed beef and taking advantage of the pandemic in a manner “that could violate the federal antitrust law.”

“In addition to harming cattle producers, this potentially illegal practice hurts consumers nationwide, many of whom are themselves struggling because of loss of employment and reduced incomes,” the statement reads.

The states signing the letter were Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.