Ag Group cites possible antitrust violations and calls for investigation
Yesterday the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), calling for the DOJ to stop the purchase of Mountain States-Rosen (MSR), a Greeley, Colorado-based lamb processing cooperative made up of 150 independent producers, by Brazilian company JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker. OCM joins over a dozen United States Senators in calling for a DOJ investigation into the acquisition, which has been opposed by sheep ranchers and other agriculture groups.
OCM’s letter pointed out that JBS’s own lamb imports constitute nearly 50% of all lamb imports in North America, and the purchase and closure of a significant competitor by JBS would further increase consolidation in the lamb market, to potentially harmful levels, and should be investigated by the DOJ for possible antitrust violations.
OCM cited two ongoing investigations, one that began in June when the DOJ issued civil investigative demands to the four largest meatpacking companies in the U.S., including JBS, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s investigation of potential violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
OCM also pointed to JBS’s track record of food safety, environmental and worker safety violations as grounds for revoking JBS’s grant of inspection in the United States.