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Department of Justice probes soaring beef prices

By | Rachel Brooks

Staff | Telegraph Local 

See | The New African Living Standard

Above, this past week NBC 15 captures the scene inside a supermarket as beef prices continue to swell.

The Department of Justice will now begin to question whether current soaring beef prices are legal. Politico reported the public notion that “something isn’t right.” Regarding the circumstances of the soaring cost, Politico reported that 100 years ago the Feds investigated trusts and busted them up. How does this compare? 

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Politico was quoting the Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley when it stated that “something isn’t right” regarding the beef industry. 

“It’s evidence that something isn’t right in the industry,”said Grassley, as he was quoted by Politico. 

Politico also reported the national retail average for beef prices was $6.22 per pound as of the month of April. This is  a cost increase of 26 cents per pound over what beef cost in March 2020. 

Will the U.S. enforce antitrust laws for beef prices? What are the circumstances surrounding the current beef costs and their comparison to antitrust laws. 

J.D. Scholten of J.D. Scholten for Iowa Congress chimed in. He alleges that there are only four meatpackers in control of 85% of the market. 

“In 1920, we broke up the 5 meatpackers that controlled 82% of the beef market.

Today, 4 meatpackers control 85% of the market.

They collude to raise prices on farmers & consumers while pocketing the profits. 

We need to enforce antitrust laws!!” said Mr. Scholten via Twitter. 

Mr. Scholten made a reference to the Politico article but did not give additional sources for his connection to the story. 

Respectively, the four packers that Scholten pointed out are Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods, JBS USA, and Cargill Meat Solutions. This list is citing High Country News’ list of the big four companies that was created in March 2011. The counter reported as long ago as April 2019 that the Big Four meat packers were sued of an alleged conspiracy to then-control cattle prices. This was reported by The Counter.  The complaint was filed by the United States District Court Northern District Court of Illinois. 

U.S. Senators continued to argue over the big profits of the big four meat packers as of March 30. Senators criticized the big meat packers as the surge in coronavirus hoarding and the corresponding beef retail spike failed to yield to the ranchers a higher price for cattle. This was reported by Reuters on March 30, suggesting that the battle over beef’s bulging cost has been several weeks and months in the making. 

In the wake of these arguments, ABC 6 reports that calls have come in to the DOJ to investigate “price fixing” in the Texas beef industry. 

Inferring the possibility of these accusations legitimacy, we can also strongly infer that a conspiracy of supply and demand control over the current beef cost situation is plausible. Such conspiracy is then grounds for the kind of business operations that would violate antitrust legalese. 

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In the wake of COVID-19, beef prices aren’t the only retail commodities that will be looked hard at by the DOJ. The DOJ now also turns its eyes on Google, Facebook, Twitter and the other members of the major tech industry. Axios reported within the last 22 hours that the tech giants can expect a “long, hot summer” of antitrust investigation into their processes as well.

 Attorney General Barr has already indicated that he and his department are “full steam ahead” regarding the antitrust investigation into Big Tech. 

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