Tags: Coronavirus | kevin cramer | meat shortages

Kevin Cramer: Supply Chain 'Games' Adding to Meat Problem

senator kevin cramer
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 May 2020 01:55 PM

The growing nationwide meat shortages are the result of a glaring issue with the nation's food supply chain and because "some games are being played" by the country's largest meat processors, not just because of plant closures over COVID-19, Sen. Kevin Cramer said Tuesday.

"We have a real supply chain vulnerability once again," the North Dakota Republican said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "The fact is that 80% of the meat in the United States is processed by four companies, and two of those companies are foreign-owned."

One of the largest pork-producing companies, Smithfield, is Chinese-owned, and the largest beef producer, JBS, is a Brazilian company, said Cramer.

"You see not only concentration of the processing, but you also see the foreign ownership and vulnerability, he added.

In January, the price of beef being paid to ranchers was $125 for "roughly a 100-weight and the price of steak was $2.14," said Cramer. "Then the price went down in March to $88 but the price of the steak went up to $5.14. So you are seeing some games being played with both the pandemic and the vulnerability of our supply chain in this huge concentration of meatpacking."

Cramer is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate, as he is concerned that there are antitrust violations going on.

"That doesn't make sense if the price goes down but the price of the end product goes up," said Cramer. "The same entities sort of control the entire range of the supply chain up and down, upstream and downstream."

Cramer said he heard from a sales barn in his state that it received a DOJ inquiry.

He added that nobody wants to see the large meat processing companies be shut down, but there is a "larger systemic problem when the point of demand and supply are not in sync. When you see the price going down to the farmer or the rancher or the price going up to the consumer, that shows something much more severe than simply a shortage of meat processing."

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The growing nationwide meat shortages are the result of a glaring issue with the nation's food supply chain and because "some games are being played" by the country's largest meat processors.
kevin cramer, meat shortages
340
2020-55-05
Tuesday, 05 May 2020 01:55 PM
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