Republican lawmakers ask Agriculture Department to ease regs on meat production

Six Republicans in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee urged the U.S. Agriculture Department on Tuesday to ease regulations on meat processors that they said make it harder for smaller companies to compete.

The price paid to ranchers for cattle dropped and meat prices rose earlier this spring when operations at some slaughterhouses were slowed by workers falling ill with the new coronavirus, while others closed. President Donald Trump responded in May by insisting that the Justice Department open an antitrust probe.

The six lawmakers, led by the top Republican on the committee, Jim Jordan, urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to “revisit burdensome regulations that create barriers to entry and lessen competition in the nation’s meat processing industry.”

The lawmakers requested that Perdue consider giving smaller processors “more flexibility” in handling Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Plans to address food safety issues and to clarify and streamline the approval process for meat labels.

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