Federal Trade Commission chair Lina M. Khan has submitted a comment to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rulemaking aimed at unfair business practices in the poultry farming industry, according to an FTC press release.
The announcement noted that poultry farmers often only have a choice between one or two poultry processors as buyers. Much of the meat processing industry is embroiled in years-long antitrust litigation, including a long-running case involving the broiler chicken market.
Khan’s comment notes that her agency has an interest in the USDA rulemaking because it is promulgated under the Packers and Stockyards Act, which Khan says was modeled on the Federal Trade Commission Act.
“The USDA’s proposed rule on transparency in poultry grower contracting and
tournaments is an important first step toward a more fair, competitive, and resilient food system,” Khan’s comment states.
“However, in light of the severe degree of concentration in local markets for poultry grower services, additional rulemaking that involves specific prohibitions and limitations on deceptive, unfair, and discriminatory contract terms and business practices is needed to supplement any disclosure rule.”
Khan’s comment applauds the proposed rule for remedying asymmetries between farmers and purchasers, but encourages the USDA to go further by “promulgating rules that contain specific prohibitions and limitations on deceptive, unfair, and discriminatory contract terms and business practices.”