Thursday, September 23, 2021

Biden to increase meat-packer competition


United States President Joe Biden has ear-marked $1.4 billion from his COVID 19 recovery budget to invest in smaller meat-packing plants to increase competition which he hopes will reduce prices.

His White House officials say more than half of grocery-store prices increases are for meat and four companies supply 85 per cent of the meat.

They are Cargill, Tyson Foods, Brazil-based JBS SA and National Beef Packing Co., controlled by Brazilian beef producer Marfrig.

“We’ve helped sustain this market, and it’s frustrating to see these companies turn around and raise prices,” Bharat Ramamurti, the deputy director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said in an interview. “What we see here smacks of pandemic profiteering and that is the behaviour the administration finds concerning.”

The big four are also facing a number of price-fixing charges and several of them have settled out of court for many millions.