Yesterday, Reuters reported that Brazilian meatpacking corporation JBS SA settled their way out of yet another antitrust lawsuit, in which they were accused of conspiring to limit the supply of beef to inflate consumer prices and boost their profits. The multinational corporation agreed to a settlement of $52.5 million, which pales in comparison to the company’s profits: in the third quarter of 2021 alone, JBS’s U.S.-based beef operations delivered a gross profit of more than $1.7 billion dollars.
This is just the latest in a series of settlements paid by JBS, which has a habit of getting sued for price-fixing in every sector of its operations. In December of 2021, JBS paid $24.5 million to settle pork price-fixing claims; meanwhile, the company’s U.S. gross pork profits reached $261.9 million in the third quarter of 2021. In January of 2021, JBS subsidiary Pilgrim’s Pride paid $75 million to settle a poultry case, yet the company still grossed $2.9 billion in the third quarter of 2021.
“It’s clear that these legal settlements are just the cost of doing business for JBS,” said Joe Maxwell, President of Farm Action. “JBS’s business model is built on extortion, collusion, and corruption. The Biden Administration must take action and break up corporations that repeatedly use such flagrantly illegal business practices.”
JBS is the first corporation to settle as part of ongoing nationwide antitrust litigation over beef price fixing. Other defendants include Cargill Inc, National Beef Packing, and Tyson Foods. Together with JBS, these four consolidated meatpackers control over 85% of the beef processing market.
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