In a June 17 AgriPulse article, “Indictment shines spotlight on meat industry consolidation,” AAI President Diana Moss discussed the government’s indictment of four executives from Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton Family Farms in the poultry price-fixing case. From the article:
“I think what we’re finally seeing is — to use a bad pun — that the chickens are coming home to roost with price-fixing cases in proteins,” said Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute, which was founded in 1998 “to provide a counterpoint to conservative influence in antitrust enforcement and competition policy.”
“The harms to consumers and producers that are alleged in the private cases in chicken and beef have generated enough concern to trigger federal antitrust investigations,” Moss said.
“It’s good that the feds are looking into this,” she said. “What we should have had years ago was much stronger antitrust enforcement to prevent the concentration that we see now.”
Some in Congress, including many of the Democrats who sought the party’s nomination for president, have pushed for a moratorium on mergers, but Moss says, “because there have been so many mergers already, merger control is now a less useful tool for maintaining competition in markets.”
AAI Senior Fellow Peter Carstensen also was quoted in the article about Tyson Foods’ role in the case:
“With the indictment, and with Tyson being revealed as wanting amnesty and therefore providing a lot of information, I wonder if this goes over to the pork case as well because it’s the same underlying set of puzzles,” Carstensen said. “There’s a lot going on here.”
The existence of the beef and pork cases might make Tyson more likely to try to settle the poultry civil case, he said, because “They’re looking at a lot of potential liability.”