Friday, July 25, 2014

Farm, consumer groups oppose Tyson-Hillshire deal

A coalition of 82 farm, ranch, consumer and faith-based groups has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice demanding it extend its anti-trust review of the proposed Tyson Foods takeover of Hillshire Brands Co.

The groups argue the merger would substantially undermine competition in the pork processing and hog purchasing sectors, hurting farmers and consumers and undermining rural communities.

“The rapid consolidation of market power in the hands of just a few pork processors resulted in the loss of more than 90 percent of all hog farms since 1980,” said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union by way of a news release.

“Tyson’s takeover of Hillshire certainly warrants further investigation by the Department of Justice and should be stopped,” Johnson says.

“It’s time for the Justice Department to enforce our anti-trust laws,” he said.     

But here in Canada, authorities apparently see nothing wrong with L.H. Gray and Son Ltd. colluding with Burnbrae Farms Ltd. on egg pricing and who gets which stores as customers. The two hold about 90 per cent of the egg grading business in Ontario, and both routinely pack cracks into their Grade A cartons.

And who stood up to blow the whistle when Loblaws bought Shoppers Drug Mart and Sobeys bought the Safeway chain's supermarkets across Western Canada?

Or did any church or consumer group say anything as Agropur and Saputo bought more and more competitors?

Canadians apparently can't be bothered to stir themselves to speak up for justice, fairness in the food business.