Brnovich, other attorneys general worry meat industry is price fixing

May 10, 2020, 2:15 PM | Updated: 2:26 pm

PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and ten other state attorneys general are asking the Department of Justice to investigate the meat packing industry for price fixing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Brnovich and the other attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Bar expressing concern over the market manipulation for processed beef.

“In this current environment of food insecurity, rising unemployment, and reduced income, it is more important than ever to ensure competition to protect food prices,” Brnovich said in a press release.

The worry stems from cattle prices being low and continuing to decline while beef prices are exceptionally high.

“We have concerns that beef processors are well positioned to coordinate their behavior and create a bottleneck in the cattle industry —- to the detriment of ranchers and consumers alike,” the attorneys general wrote in the letter.

The group of attorneys general want the DOJ to examine the competitive dynamic of the industry.

They also want the DOJ to look at regulatory strategies to promote competition, address market manipulation and protect consumers.

The letter noted that the U.S. beef processing market is 80% controlled by four processors, so they all have sizeable profit margins.

Coronavirus has forced some meat packing plants across the country to shut down to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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Brnovich, other attorneys general worry meat industry is price fixing