A coalition of 82 organizations signed a letter sent to the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday (July 24) opposing the antitrust process of Tyson Foods’ planned take over of Hillshire Brands.
In the letter, the coalition asked the Justice Department to take more time to carefully consider the complicated merger that would “substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly.” The group includes the National Farmers Organization, R-Calf USA, National Farmers Union, Poultry grower associations in Virginia and Alabama, Missouri Beef Cooperative and Food and Water Watch who together ask the Justice Department to extend the review timeline from 14 days to 30 days.
The coalition claims that the deal would increase Tyson’s power over hog farmers, likely raise prices, reduce consumer choices and undermine competition.
"Tyson's takeover of Hillshire certainly warrants further investigation by the Department of Justice and should be stopped," President of the National Farmers Union Roger Johnson noted in a statement. "It's time for the Justice Department to enforce our anti-trust laws."
The Justice Department declined to comment on the letter.
Higher prices for consumers is the major concern voiced by Food & Water watch research director Patrick Woodall.
“Having the largest meat company buy another one of the largest meat companies gives Tyson a much stronger grip on the entire food chain,” Woodall said. The merger would make it possible for “Tyson to undermine Hillshire’s sausage and lunchmeat rivals by disrupting their access to pork supplies” and hampering competition.