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Anna Ghosh, aghosh(at)fwwatch(dot)org, 415-293-9905
How Food System Consolidation Factors into USDA’s Forecasted Food Price Increases for 2011
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
WASHINGTON - January 26 - "This week's release of the USDA 2011 Consumer Price Index analysis demonstrates that a more industrialized, consolidated food supply does not translate to lower grocery bills for consumers. I encourage the news media to look beyond the routine justifications of rising feed and fuel costs and take a critical look at the role consolidation of our food system plays in consumers' rising food bills.
"Although all food prices are expected to increase in the coming year, inflation for beef, pork, eggs and dairy is anticipated to be sharpest. Not coincidentally, these are the same industries that have experienced the most consolidation over the past two decades and are controlled by the fewest number of large agribusinesses.
"While these largest companies claim that mergers and acquisitions allow for efficiencies of scale that create cost savings for consumers, the reality is consumers rarely see a decrease in what they pay for food. And, as the USDA's latest CPI indicates, consumers are about to experience even higher prices that could increase inflation overall.
"The bottom line is clear: consumers are paying more for their food, farmers are receiving less, and the companies in the middle are soaking up the profits.
"The USDA has the power to restore some fairness in our food system. The USDA should not be bullied by the agribusiness lobby standing in the way of enforcing antitrust laws that have been on the books for almost a century, but never enforced. It's time for the agency to finish its proposed livestock marketing rule and put it into effect immediately before it becomes impossible for average Americans to feed their families."
For more information consolidation in the meat industry and the impacts of corporate power on the food supply, visit: