Meat industry tells Biden to stop ‘playing chicken’ with his food

Meat industry tells Biden to stop ‘playing chicken’ with his food

The meat industries criticized President Biden for his plan to address high prices at the grocery store, saying it is a “solution in search of a problem.”

“While we have not seen any proposals, for the chicken industry, this seems like a solution in search of a problem,” said the president of the National Chicken Council, Mike Brown, in a statement.

“The chicken industry is the least established of all animal agriculture, and the market share of the top four companies has been pretty much the same for the past 20 years.”

‘It is time for the White House to stop playing chicken with our food system and to stop using the meat industry as a scapegoat for the significant challenges facing our economy. This administration should view the chicken industry as a model for success, rather than create a bogeyman to justify an unnecessary and costly foray into our meat supply. ‘

Meat industry tells Biden to stop ‘playing chicken’ with his food

The National Chicken Council criticized President Biden for his plan to address high prices in the meat industry, saying it is a “solution in search of a problem.”

“While we have not seen any proposals, for the chicken industry, this seems like a solution in search of a problem,” said the president of the National Chicken Council, Mike Brown, in a statement.

The consumer price index rose 6.8% in November from last year, the fastest rise in 39 years. The price of bacon rose 21% and the price of beef 25%. The meat, poultry, fish and egg index has risen 16% since November last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The White House said in a statement Monday that four large companies control 85% of the beef market, four processing companies control 54% of the poultry market and four companies control 70% of the pork market. .

The North American Meat Institute said the president’s “tired approach” would do little to address inflation, as Biden does not acknowledge the staffing shortage.

“ For the third time in six months, President Joe Biden and his administration announced the same plans to spend a billion dollars to fund government intervention in the market in an attempt to increase the prices that livestock producers receive and to blame from inflation to private industry, ” Julie Anna said. Potts, president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute.

‘The Biden Administration continues to ignore the number one challenge for meat and poultry production: labor shortages. This tired approach is not surprising because they have refused to compromise with the packaging and processing sector they attack, even going so far as to hold a roundtable on meat packaging without the presence of a single beef or pork packer. ”

“Press conferences and the use of taxpayer money to establish government-sponsored processing and packing plants will do nothing to address the shortage of labor at meat and poultry plants and rising inflation. across the economy, “Potts said.

‘The Administration wants the American people to believe that the meat and poultry industry is unique and does not experience the same problems that cause inflation throughout the economy, such as higher input costs, higher energy costs, shortages of hand construction and transportation challenges. Consumers know better. “

On Monday, Biden went after “middleman” meat processors who he said were ripping off American farmers, ranchers and consumers alike. He held a round table with farmers and ranchers from all over the country.

Our farmers and ranchers have to pay what these four big companies say they have to pay in general, but that is only half. These companies can use their position as intermediaries to overcharge grocery stores and ultimately families, ” Biden said.

“In too many industries, a handful of giant companies dominate the market … And too often they use their power to drive out smaller competitors and stifle new entrepreneurs.”

The new plan will award grants to independent processors to increase competition, work with lenders to make more capital available to independent processors, and support private lenders investing in independently owned food processing and distribution.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: capitalism without competition is not capitalism, it is exploitation. That is what we are seeing in meat and poultry. ‘

The president pointed out that farmers and ranchers earn much less for their share of the product than in previous years.

“Fifty years ago, ranchers made more than 60 cents of every dollar a family spent on beef. Today, they get about 39 cents. Fifty years ago, pig farmers made between 40 and 50 cents for every dollar they spent. Today it costs about 19 cents, ” Biden said.

The American Meat Processors Association welcomed the investment.

“We welcome investment in independent meat processors. The investment will provide small meat processors with the ability to increase their harvesting and processing capacity by building much-needed production space, purchasing automated equipment, and investing in workforce development. ‘

The White House said that meat and poultry prices are the biggest contributors to the rising cost of groceries at the grocery store.

Of the $ 1 billion allocation, $ 100 million will go towards reducing the cost of inspections of small processing facilities. Another $ 100 million will go towards addressing supply chain challenges such as cold storage and warehousing.

Another $ 800 million will go to grants and loans for smaller facilities.

The Biden administration is also tightening restrictions on what can be labeled ‘Product of the USA’. Under current labeling rules, meat products only need to be packaged in the US and could be raised abroad, but still labeled as an American product. It will issue stricter rules to combat ‘abuses’ by meat processors and the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture will launch a new portal for whistleblowers to report possible violations of competition laws.

The Biden administration has long blamed the meat industry for rising prices at the supermarket and has taken steps to combat illegal pricing.

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