A federal grand jury indicted four poultry industry executives on a charge of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens, announced the Justice Department on Wednesday. The charges were the first in "an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price-fixing, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the broiler chicken industry," it said.
With a 50-percent workforce decline at poultry plants owned by the Delaware chicken company Allen Harim, the company told poultry farmers last week that it will begin killing chickens in the field to reduce pressure on its remaining workers during the coronavirus pandemic.(No paywall)
One of the largest U.S. meat processors, Smithfield Foods, said it will conduct "deep cleaning and sanitization," beginning on Saturday at the South Dakota pork plant where more than 80 of 3,700 employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. (No paywall)
The USDA confirmed a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a turkey flock in South Carolina and said on Thursday that all of the birds had been killed to prevent spread of the disease. It was the first case of "high path" bird flu in a commercial poultry plant in the United States since 2017.
The USDA should provide strong protections for livestock and poultry growers in their dealings with meatpackers and processors, said farm activists on Thursday in delivering petitions signed by more than 84,000 people in support of a “robust” fair-practices rule.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin in Chicago granted the Department of Justice’s request to stay discovery in a high-profile case that alleges collusion in the poultry industry. Durkin halted discovery in the case for three months, half the time DOJ had requested to protect its own grand jury investigation of the poultry sector.
In recent years, agribusiness groups have fought legislation that would require large-scale livestock farms to report what pollutants they discharge into the air. But this week, a Maryland poultry industry group announced a partnership with the state’s environmental regulators to monitor those emissions. (No paywall)
In a surprising amicus brief, the Justice Department last week recommended that the Supreme Court not hear Missouri’s challenge to California’s animal-welfare laws, which mandate larger cages for some farm animals. The stance could bode well for animal-welfare advocates fighting for similar legislation in other states.
The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration began a two-day stakeholder meeting Tuesday to discuss how to regulate livestock and poultry produced with cell-culture technology. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb emphasized that both agencies have a role in creating a regulatory framework for lab-grown meat, but suggested such a framework will still take months to complete.