Market News & Headlines >> Warren Calls For Poultry Industry Investigation

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday called on the U.S. Justice Department to open a broad investigation into the impact of “anticompetitive practices” by major poultry companies on consumers and farmers.

"Given the apparent connection between rising poultry prices for consumers and the history of anticompetitive practices in the poultry industry, I ask that you open a broad investigation into the impact of price-fixing, wage fixing, and consolidation in the poultry industry on consumers and farmers,” the former Democratic presidential candidate said in a letter to the Justice Department's Antitrust Division.

Poultry is one of the most heavily concentrated industries with the dominant “Big Four” poultry companies holding a combined 54% of the market, Warren noted. “Lack of competition in the poultry industry is allowing these massive companies to squeeze both American consumers and farmers to fuel record corporate profits and payouts to shareholders,” she said.

The Justice Department is investigating price-fixing among some chicken producers. Earlier this year, Perdue Farms and Tyson reached a $35 million settlement with chicken farmers over allegations that they used long-term contracts to lock farmers into “unprofitably low” compensation.

The meat industry has said increased demand and a labor shortage have boosted prices.