Rounds Issues Statement on JBS Price Fixing Settlement
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) issued the following statement after a preliminary settlement was reached earlier this week between Brazilian owned JBS and plaintiffs in the first nationwide antitrust litigation over price fixing in the beef cattle market:
“Four big foreign and domestically owned beef packers control over 80% of our nation’s beef processing and supply which continues to hurt both consumers and producers in South Dakota,” said Rounds. “For years, I’ve been advocating for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate potential anti-trust activities in the beef packing industry. In fact, I’ve sent three letters to the attorney general asking for the DOJ to look into these potential violations. The $52.5 million settlement by JBS further validates these concerns.
“South Dakota farm and ranch families deserve to know what is really happening in the market. Their livelihoods depend on it. This ‘icebreaker’ settlement is a step in the right direction, but there’s still a long ways to go. I look forward to continuing to engage with the DOJ and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress to hold the Big Packers accountable, as we seek transparency in the marketplace.”
Since he was elected to the Senate, Rounds has led numerous efforts to provide solutions to the problems faced by independent cattle producers and beef consumers including:
- Led a group of 26 colleagues with Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in calling on the attorney general to investigate the meatpacking industry to determine if antitrust violations exist.
- Introduced the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act with Sens. Tester and Grassley to give the U.S. Department of Agriculture the tools to investigate anticompetitive practices in the cattle market.
- Addressed cattle producers during a virtual town hall focused on meatpacker concentration in the cattle industry.
- Reintroduced legislation with Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) to allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines.
- Introduced bipartisan legislation to foster more competitive cattle markets by requiring that a minimum of 50 percent of a meatpacker’s weekly volume of cattle purchases take place on the open or spot market.
- Introduced legislation which would outlaw foreign beef from being labeled as a “Product of the U.S.A.” and make certain that label only goes on beef and beef products exclusively derived from animals born, raised and slaughtered here in the United States.