Senators, others question merger in pork industry

by 5m Editor
19 September 2006, at 11:17am

IOWA - Iowa senators and others expressed concerns Monday after the nation's largest hog producer and pork processor, Smithfield Foods Inc., said it will buy Premium Standard Farms Inc., the No. 2 hog producer and No. 6 pork processor.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ia., said the combined company's market power could harm small, independent pork producers and consumers. Harkin called on the Department of Justice to review the deal.

Dennis Treacy, Smithfield vice president of environmental, community and government affairs, acknowledged that the $810 million purchase represents more consolidation in the pork industry.

But, he said in an interview with The Des Moines Register, controlling hogs from the farm to the packing plant - a system known as vertical integration - gives Smithfield the ability to promote the safety of its pork products.

Source: Des Moines Register

5m Editor