US agriculture chief backs proposed meatpacking investigator – WTVB News

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(Reuters) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday threw his assist behind a proposal To decide a particular investigator To deal with considerations about anti-aggressive practices Inside the meat and poultry industries.

Republican U.S. Senators Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Charles Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana have proposed legal guidelines to create an office for a particular investigator Contained in the U.S. Division of Agriculture.

U.S. regulationmakers and the USDA are looking for To deal with focus Inside The meat processing enterprise Inside the aftermath of a ransomware assault in the direction of meatpacker JBS SA that disrupted U.S. meat manufacturing and disruptions Launched on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed office would have a group of investigators, with subpoena power, devoted to stopping and addressing antiaggressive practices and implementing antitrust regulations in meatpacking, Based mostly on A press launch from the senators.

“I really feel it’s A great proposal,” Vilsack said at a congressional price range listening to. “I really feel it’s An factor of what Want to be carried out.”

4 corporations collectively with JBS in 2018 slaughtered about 85% of U.S. grain-fattened cattle That are made into steaks, beef roasts and completely different cuts of meat for consumers, Based mostly on the USDA.

The USDA has individually said it plans to strengthen its enforcement of a 100-yr-previous federal regulation meant To shield farmers and ranchers from unfair commerce practices. The agency additionally said It is going to assist elevated processing performance as An factor of a $4 billion initiative to strengthen the nation’s meals system.

(Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; Modifying by Will Dunham)

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