How government broke the meat processing industry
Among the Biden administration’s responses to rising inflation is to complain that monopolies control vital parts of the economy, forcing consumers to pay high prices because of greed, and a lack of competition.
The meat processing industry has come under Mr. Biden’s scrutiny, in no small part because people (read: voters) can easily see food inflation at work.
But as the Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike MaHarrey writes, if Mr. Biden was looking for the real culprit behind food inflation, he would be wise to look in the mirror:
…it wasn’t “capitalism” or the greedy corporations that caused this consolidation in the meatpacking industry. It was the federal government.
Congress broke the meat supply chain decades ago.
The Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 mandates meat must be slaughtered and processed at a federally inspected slaughterhouse, or in a facility inspected in a state with meat inspection laws at least as strict as federal requirements. Small processors found it difficult if not impossible to meet the federal requirements. The cost was simply too high. Of course, large corporations can bear regulatory costs. As a result, the meat processing industry went through massive consolidation after the enaction of this act.
Since the passage of the Wholesome Meat Act, the number of slaughterhouses dropped from more than 10,000 to 2,766 in 2019. Today, instead of hundreds of companies processing meat, three corporations control virtually the entire industry.
Federal law also prohibits the interstate sale of custom processed meat – meat from an animal slaughtered and processed at a facility where an inspector is not required to be present to observe the slaughtering and conduct an ante mortem and post mortem inspection of the animal.
There’s a lot more great reporting at this link. It reinforces the old adage that when you point the finger of blame, three fingers point back at you. Mr. Biden, call your office…