DOJ supports National Pork Producers Council’s ability to combat meat shortage
The Department of Justice issued a letter Friday to the National Pork Producers Council to address its proposed responses to challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. The department will not challenge the collaborative efforts of the NPPC to work with the USDA to address the hardships facing hog farmers.
The letter explains that the processing plant closures addressed in President Donald J. Trump’s April 28, 2020, Executive Order have had impacts up and down the supply chain. One of those impacts, according to NPPC, is the tragic need to euthanize unmarketable hogs that could not be brought to market due to processing capacity challenges.
The letter determines that the NPPC and its members may work at the direction of the USDA and state agriculture agencies to achieve humane and efficient euthanization of hogs that have grown too large to be processed and are thus unmarketable. The NPPC may also share general information with its members about best practices for depopulating unmarketable hogs.
“Friday’s letter addresses some of the challenges created for farmers when packing capacity shuts down,” stated Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim. “Meanwhile, we remain committed to vigorous enforcement of the antitrust laws to ensure that farmers and consumers see the benefits of competition.”
The NPPC submitted its business review request pursuant to the expedited, temporary review procedure detailed in the Joint Antitrust Statement Regarding COVID-19 (joint statement) issued on March 24 by both the department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In the joint statement, the department announced its aim to resolve COVID-19-related business review requests within seven calendar days of receiving all necessary information.