Analysis: High U.S. Meat Prices: Packer Profiteering or Capacity Crunch?

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration is targeting a small group of meat packers for high beef, pork and poultry prices that it says are squeezing consumers and fueling inflation, arguing that they are abusing their market power.

The U.S. meatpacking industry is dominated by a few global companies which say prices reflect a surge in demand, pandemic-constrained supplies, and rising costs for labor and transportation. They deny the administration’s pandemic profiteering allegations.

Agricultural economists say that pandemic-stoked meat demand has exposed a shortage of slaughterhouse capacity, especially in beef, a supply-chain problem similar to those of other industries.

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