As the US struggles with meat shortages, the world’s largest beef and pork producer is under fire for failing to protect its workers from coronaviruses and now faces a new federal investigation into alleged pricing.
JBS, a company based in Brazil which slaughtered more than 13 million animals per day in plants around the world, was hit with death suit is wrong after a worker in his operation in Souderton, Pennsylvania, died of complications due to COVID-19 last month.
The day before the lawsuit was filed, President Trump ordered the Justice Department to investigate JBS along with other major meat producers in the country for anti-trust violations.
The attorney general from 11 meat-producing countries has called for an investigation, accusing producers of working together to raise retail prices and reduce livestock prices.
“In this highly concentrated industry, meat packing has achieved a substantial profit margin,” the attorney general wrote in their request for a federal investigation. “However, cattle ranchers, who for generations have supplied our nation’s beef, are trapped and often struggle to survive.”
In the lawsuit, the family of Enock Benjamin alleged that JBS failed to provide masks and other protective equipment at 1,400 employees at the Souderton plant and instituted a “Saturday killing” program in March to fulfill requests in “panicked purchases of public land” for meat, “according to the Philadelphia Inquirer .
“By choosing benefits over safety, JBS shows careless neglect of the rights and safety of others,” according to the lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia.
A JBS spokesman did not respond to The Post’s request on Friday.
At least 30 meat packaging workers worldwide have died from the corona virus and more than 10,000 have contracted the transmission, according to the International Trade Union and Commercial Food Workers.
The pandemic also forced the temporary closure of 30 meat packaging plants over the past two months, resulting in a 40% reduction in pork production and a 25% decline in beef production, according to the union.
Joesley and Wesley Batista, billionaire brothers who control JBS, have been linked to high-level government corruption that has rocked Brazil.
After acknowledging bribing nearly 2,000 elected officials to secure government funds to encourage the expansion of their companies in the US a few years ago, Batistas was slapped with a fine of more than $ 3.2 billion – the highest in Brazilian history.
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