Department of Justice subpoenas America’s four largest beef packers


The Department of Justice has formally demanded information on Tyson Foods, JBS SA, Cargill, Inc., and National Beef Inc. and has contacted state Attorney’s General about the investigation into beef markets because of growing concerns about the divide in pricing between box beef and live cattle.

America’s four largest beef packers make up about 80 percent of the U.S. market.

“The request was very narrow in scope, which leads us to believe that the DOJ does not necessarily believe there is an antitrust issue,” National Beef told Bloomberg.

National Beef was the only one of the four companies subpoenaed to respond to the request for comment.

In May, President Trump asked the Department of Justice to look into allegations that U.S. meat packers broke antitrust law.

“I’ve asked them to take a very serious look into it, because it shouldn’t be happening that way and we want to protect our farmers,” the president said.

The meat packing industry has also been under scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic because of increased outbreaks reported in packing plants.

Currently, estimates show a backlog of about 1 million head of cattle.