US Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Jamie Raskin are urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reconsider a decision to not block meat giant JBS SA (JBSS3) from getting government contracts due to the Brazilian company’s “history of criminal misconduct.”
The prominent progressives sent a letter to Vilsack on Wednesday asking him to revisit a decision to not initiate US Department of Agriculture’s suspension and debarment powers against JBS and the Brazilian agribusiness firm that controls the meat supplier, J&F Investimentos.
Reconsidering the 2021 decision “would maintain public trust in USDA’s procurement channels, make good on USDA’s recent commitment to curb misconduct in the industry, and ensure a fair and equitable food system for both producers and consumers,” said the letter seen by Bloomberg.
JBS and its subsidiary Pilgrim’s Pride (PPC) have been awarded government contracts worth more than $118 million since October 2020, when Pilgrim’s Pride struck a plea deal with the US Justice Department on price-fixing allegations, according to the letter. That agreement, along with a plea deal by J&F Investimentos, were seen as a path for JBS to push ahead with a US listing, though the company has since repeatedly delayed those plans.
--With assistance from Mike Dorning and Michael Hirtzer
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