Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Tyson, Smithfield, and Others Now Under Senate Scrutiny for Pork Exports

By Rhian Hunt – Updated Jun 23, 2020 at 6:10PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

American meat companies are once again in the hot seat for questioning.

Additional investigations into meat-packing company practices during the COVID-19 pandemic are now looming for Tyson Foods (TSN -1.51%), along with privately held Smithfield Foods, JBS Foods International, and Cargill. The U.S. Senate scrutiny centers on alleged actions taken in the pork market, including shipping large quantities of the meat to China during the coronavirus outbreak while ratcheting up prices for American consumers.

Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, sent a letter to each of the four companies, stating the meat-packers exported a combined 1.3 billion pounds of pork and beef starting from March 20 into June. Addressing the leading executives of the companies, the senators questioned "your honesty with the American public about the reasons for higher food prices, and your commitment to providing a safe, affordable, and abundant food supply for the nation." 

Investigation concept.

Image source: Getty Images

The investigation targets two areas of the meat-packers' response to COVID-19. One is why the companies claimed the American meat supply was "cracking" at approximately the same time they were sending over a hundred thousand tons of meat overseas to the Chinese market.  Simultaneously, an alleged meat shortage occurred, causing prices to rise by more than 3% in the U.S. toward the end of April.

The other part of the investigation puts a spotlight on "the conditions that left your workers and the supply chain vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the letter, which adds that the companies "used the prospect of food shortages to secure a federal license to put your workers in harm's way," referring to the presidential executive order to keep meat-packing plants open

Tyson is also involved in a probe of alleged price-fixing in the poultry industry

Rhian Hunt has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Tyson Foods, Inc. Stock Quote
Tyson Foods, Inc.
$69.94 (-1.51%) $-1.07

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.