Update: It is now reported that USDA will award 22,331,309 to JBS under the bailout program, rather than the $5 million previously reported. See the USDA Purchase Award Description here.
It has been reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award $5 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to Brazilian-owned meatpacking corporation, JBS, under the bailout program meant to help American farmers hurt by the trade war.
In November 2018, Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods rescinded its bid for bailout money after a backlash on Capitol Hill over the award. Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is now circulating a petition calling on USDA and Congress to halt the payments to JBS.
“It is a sad day when our own government will open its doors for global meatpacking corporations while keeping them closed during this government shutdown to America’s family farmers. Secretary Perdue told farmers the USDA bailout would help them weather the trade war but instead is providing the world’s largest and most corrupt meatpacker with payments that will help JBS continue harming U.S. farmers and threatening our food supply,” OCM said.
JBS’ illegal and abusive activity runs deep. In a decade-long scheme, the meatpacker bribed more than 1,800 Brazilian politicians, which JBS admitted helped them take over the U.S. beef market. Meanwhile, in 2017, JBS was caught exporting rotten meat worldwide and trying to cover up the stench using cancer-causing acid products. In 2018, 12 million pounds of JBS ground beef were recalled and 246 people were sickened in the U.S. due to salmonella poisoning. Evidence shows the salmonella outbreak was caused by JBS’ standard practice of allowing sick dairy cows into the beef supply. In 2018, USDA found JBS had ripped off U.S. cattle producers at three separate slaughter facilities by shorting them on payments for their cattle, and while the JBS abuses were extensive, USDA settled the claims for a mere $50,000 penalty. USDA is now paying back JBS 100 fold with its $5 million award.
“While elected officials debate border security, JBS’ abusive takeover of the U.S. beef market and the resulting threat to our food supply should be at the forefront of the conversation. Instead, our government is handing JBS the taxpayer money meant for U.S. farmers,” OCM concluded.
Organization for Competitive Markets is a national membership-based research and advocacy organization working for open and competitive markets and fair trade in America’s food and agricultural sectors.