As the U.S. meat industry reels from the largest beef recall in history, Brazil's No. 1 meat packer is quietly becoming the No. 1 U.S. meat packer.
According to the Wichita Eagle, JBS SA, Brazil's "mega-processor," is buying both National Beef and Smithfield Beef, the No. 4 and No. 5 beef packers in the United States, along with Five Rivers Ranch Cattle, the largest cattle feeding company in the world, and Australia's largest multispecies meat processor, the Tasman Group.
Those $1.7 billion acquisitions will make the Brazilian company the largest U.S. meat packer, hands down.
If you want to think about the origins of the meat on your plate, consider this: The company can now, according to the Eagle, slaughter 42,500 cattle a day, 50% more than its nearest competitor, Tyson.
The acquisition will draw antitrust scrutiny from the Justice Department, and concern from consumers already worried about the safety and ethical standards employed by industrial meat-processing plants and slaughterhouses.
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