Meat Prices Inquiry by House Oversight Subcommittee

Sabrina HalvorsonDairy & Livestock, Industry

meat prices

A subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform is looking for information about what they call the alarming price increases on beef, pork, and chicken products. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy sent letters to four major meat processing companies—Tyson Foods, JBS Foods, National Beef, and Seaboard, requesting the information. In a statement, he said over the past year, the cost of these products has risen for American families, while profits for all four companies have soared.

“While some companies may claim that the high prices feeding these outsized profits are explained by higher input costs, earnings data tell a different story,” Chairman Krishnamoorthi wrote.  “I am deeply concerned that meat processing conglomerates may have engaged in predatory business practices, at the expense of consumers, during the pandemic.”

In the last year, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, beef prices have risen nearly 19%, while the price of pork has increased by 15%, and poultry prices have gone up by almost 10%.  At the same time, net profit margins for the four biggest meatpacking companies have shot up over 300% since the start of the pandemic, while the net income of all four companies has soared by 500%.  The companies have also rewarded shareholders with billions of dollars spent on new dividends and stock buybacks.

In the letters, the Chairman requested information and documents from each company explaining their decision to increase the prices of their products despite rising profits, as well as any known federal and state investigations related to these price increases.

Click here to read the full statement.

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.