R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard was quoted by AgWeek in September, 2011 saying that the disproportionate control over the sector by the five major beef and pork packers is creating a system that is “inherently more vulnerable to failures that could adversely affect the food safety and food security for millions” of consumers.
His comments followed a massive July, 2011 recall of meat products. Recalls are growing in size and can carry serious risks to human health. “When a problem at one major packing plant can disrupt the food safety and food security for millions of consumers, it’s time to reengineer our meatpacking sector,” he said.
Bullard said that the industry’s concentration gives the few remaining large packers “superior market power to lower livestock prices they pay to U.S. farmers and ranchers, which has forced hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers out of business.”
“R-CALF has highlighted a problem that is even more extreme in Canada where we have only two packing companies serving the beef industry,” said David Wiens, MCEC member. “Beef producers and government and other industry players need to do what they can to support a new regional plant in Manitoba. We should focus on creating an
environment where we have more diversity and more competition. That’s always a good thing.”