WASHINGTON, DC - Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is now cosponsoring a bill to hold the meatpacking industry accountable.
The Meat Packing Special Investigator Act from Montana Democrat Jon Tester would create a team of investigators inside the U.S. Agriculture Department to look at anticompetitive practices in the industry.
Grassley has been critical of the meatpacking industry’s treatment of Iowa livestock farmers.
He also said the recent ransomware attack on meatpacking giant JBS presented a threat the country's food supply and national security.
“Increased consolidation is driving concerns about competitive market access for Iowa livestock producers,” Grassley said. “The recent cyberattack added to existing vulnerabilities in our food supply chain, underscoring the importance of protecting the livelihoods of our family farmers. Food security is national security. This bill provides USDA with the necessary tools to beef up enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act, increase coordination with DOJ, FTC, and DHS and to foster a fair and functional marketplace for farmers and consumers alike.”
South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds is also cosponsoring the bill, which will give the team of investigators at the U.S.D.A. the power to subpoena, allowing them to obtain information and testimony in an effort to keep meat packers accountable.
Senator Tester, the bill's lead author, says it will help to reduce the rising prices of meat for consumers because it will add more competition.