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US: Meat and poultry industry not to blame for inflation

20 January 2022

Rising meat prices due to labour shortage and supply chain problems, NAMI said

The North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute) said yesterday that consumers saw increased meat prices in 2021 because of labour shortages, greater consumer demand, supply chain problems and other factors experienced by most sectors of the economy.

“Inflation is hurting consumers by erasing the wage gains workers received due to the tight labour market and the pandemic,” said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the North American Meat Institute. “It is no wonder the Biden Administration and some members of Congress would rather hold press conferences and hearings instead of addressing the labour shortage and supply chain bottlenecks.”

The Meat Institute submitted additional testimony for a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law called, Reviving Competition, Part 5: Addressing the Effects of Economic Concentration on Americas Food Supply.

The Meat Institute provided important context to antitrust allegations.

“The meat packing industry has been, and continues to be, one of the most highly scrutinized industries when it comes to antitrust review,” said Potts in the testimony submitted. “The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Packers and Stockyards Division (P&S) is uniquely charged, by statute, to provide on-going oversight for fair business practices and to ensure competitive markets in the livestock, meat, and poultry industries."

"Additionally, any potential merger or acquisition regulators believe threatens ‘too much market power’ is subject to review by the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission," she added. "The last proposed merger of two of the ‘big four’ fed cattle slaughterers occurred in 2008 – and it was blocked by the Department of Justice.”



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