© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A truck laden with rooster leg quarters leaves Sanderson Farms poultry processing plant enroute to Mexico, in Palestine, Texas, U.S., January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lange/File Photo
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday known as on the Justice Department to open a broad investigation on the impression of price- fixing and consolidation within the poultry sector on shoppers and farmers.
The former Democratic presidential candidate additionally urged the division’s Antitrust Division to assessment “with suspicion” any massive mergers within the trade, after Cargill Inc and Continental Grain mentioned in August they might purchase rooster firm Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:) for $4.53 billion.
Warren mentioned in a letter that buyers are paying greater prices as a result of of extreme consolidation, price-fixing and “plain-old corporate greed.”
Prices for rooster breasts have jumped 26% over the previous yr, based on U.S. Labor Department information, whereas turkey prices have been up 24% in an annual American Farm Bureau Federation survey forward of Thanksgiving.
The meat trade has mentioned elevated demand and the labor scarcity have boosted prices. Four processors management 54% of the rooster market, up from 35% in 1986, based on the Biden administration.
“Lack of competition in the poultry industry is allowing these massive companies to squeeze both American consumers and farmers to fuel record corporate profits and payouts to shareholders,” Warren mentioned.
The Justice Department is investigating price-fixing amongst some rooster producers. The Biden administration can be promising a harder stance towards 4 firms that management the U.S. beef market as a option to rein in prices.
In February, rooster firm Pilgrim’s Pride (NASDAQ:) Corp pleaded responsible and settled federal costs that it conspired to repair prices and handed on the prices to shoppers.
A month earlier, Tyson Foods Inc (NYSE:) settled civil litigation by three teams of plaintiffs that accused it of illegally conspiring to inflate rooster prices.
Warren requested the Justice Department to report by Dec. 20 on how price-fixing and consolidation have contributed to greater poultry prices.
Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley beforehand raised considerations concerning the takeover of Sanderson Farms, the third-largest U.S. rooster producer.
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