The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Federal Approval of Tyson-Hillshire Mega-Meat-Merger Harms Consumers
Yesterday, the U.S. Justice Department approved the merger between Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands, requiring an important divestiture, but nonetheless allowing one of the largest meat processing mergers in years.
The Justice Department forced Tyson to sell its sow-buying business that competed head-to-head with Hillshire’s sow slaughter business. The Justice Department should be commended for recognizing the buyer-power that pork processors and marketers have over hog farmers and taking a necessary step to protect farmers from increased consolidation in the pork packing industry. The pork packing industry remains overly concentrated, but at least the Justice Department prevented it from getting any worse.
The merger disadvantages both consumers and rival manufacturers.
Although this divestiture is vitally important for farmers, the merger approval leaves consumers vulnerable to higher prices from a more consolidated pork-processing sector. The Justice Department should not have approved this merger until its anticompetitive impacts on consumers could be fully assessed. One month is insufficient time to analyze a merger that joins the largest meat processing company with the eleventh largest firm and creates a vertically integrated pork powerhouse that can exert market power from squeal to sausage.
The merger disadvantages both consumers and rival manufacturers. Tyson has struggled for years to develop credible value-added pork product brands and by approving this merger Tyson seizes a leading position in the sausage, breakfast sandwich, hot dog and lunchmeat markets. Because Tyson can align its pork slaughter business with Hillshire’s branded processing business, Hillshire products will have a leg up on competitors, who will likely have to raise prices.
Consumers are especially vulnerable today, as pork prices are rising due to a widespread outbreak of a disease affecting piglets. A larger Tyson is unlikely to reduce pork prices as quickly or as fully when hog prices decline. The Justice Department should have investigated this merger more fully and divested more businesses before rapidly approving this mega-meat-merger.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.
Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.
By Dave Cooke
So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.
By Richard Connor
A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.