JBS USA’s plans to purchase a Colorado lamb processing facility and convert its operations to beef have drawn concerns over limiting competition in the industry.
Senators and house members from five states have urged the US justice department to open an investigation into the acquisition and take appropriate steps to prevent “irreversible actions” that will harm competition in the domestic lamb market.
The concerns were sent via a letter to the Assistant Attorney General, Makan Delrahim, on behalf of consumers and sheep ranchers.
JBS agreed to acquire Mountain States Rosen (MSR), a bankrupt lamb packing plant in Greeley, Colorado, at the end of last month. Following its acquisition, the letter states that JBS is preparing to completely shut down all lamb processing at the site.
MSR is a cooperative owned by more than 145 American families. Reports suggest that it is the second largest lamb packaging plant in the US, accounting for about one-fifth of the entire US lamb market.
The letter raised awareness that if the deal goes ahead, JBS will eliminate a major domestic competitor in the region and could replace significant quantities of the American-raised lamb with imported product. It also states that the region lacks any other facilities of comparable size.
As a result, the senators suggest that approximately 15-20% of the US supply may not find a processor which will lead to sheep ranches in the Western states going out of business.
FoodBev has reached out to JBS for comment.
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