|Percentage of meatpacking and processing sectors controlled by top four companies in the U.S.|
(Politico chart using Family Farm Action Alliance data)
"Covid-19 was a shock up and down America’s supply chain for meat, from farmers and ranchers who couldn’t find buyers for their livestock and lost revenue and animals, to grocery shoppers who encountered steep meat prices, item limits and empty shelves. But it wasn’t the first or only such shock. Just a handful of giant companies process the vast majority of America’s beef, pork and poultry," Ryan McCrimmonreports
for Politico. "Take the beef sector: Four companies process about 85 percent of all the cattle fed and slaughtered for boxed beef, namely muscle cuts like ribs and steaks. That means that when one or more large meatpacking site is forced to shut down, it has ripple effects across the entire country, interrupting supplies and often raising prices. Just in the last three years, the meat supply chain has also been disrupted by afire at a major Tyson Foods plant
in Kansas and a ransomware attack thatshut down JBS plants
that process a fifth of the U.S. beef supply."