Meat prices could go up if Biden administration new regulations are put in place

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 3:39 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - From plant closures to shortages to supply chain issues, the meat packing industry had a turbulent ride over the course of the pandemic.

The struggle led to higher costs for consumers. Meat prices have finally dropped back down. But, there may be another spike in the near future.

The Biden administration announced it would release new health guidelines for the meat industry on the virtual 2021 Annual Meat Conference.

The regulations were set to come out on March 15. Although there’s been no word from the White House about the new regulations yet or what they are, meat packing plants are gearing up for the possible changes.

I spoke with industry leaders to find out how this might impact consumers. Shoppers say they noticed the change in meat prices during the pandemic.

“They went up,” said Bismarck Resident Susan Weigel. And retail prices could go up again. The Biden administration is reportedly focusing on re-regulation following the Trump administration’s deregulation of the industry over the past year.

M&W Beef Packers Inc. President Steve Moore says the more regulations put on the businesses, the higher the cost is to produce the product.

“If new things are needed to be bought or different things that are not already in use, that cost has to be passed on to consumers,” said Moore. Customers say it’ll be hard to keep up if prices spike again.

“Yeah, it’ll probably be a little tough,” said Wilton Resident Phillip Lofthus. Moore says his plant has already implemented CDC guidance to keep his employees and customers safe and doesn’t see a need for further regulation.

“It’s a requirement here to have a mask. You can’t enter the building without one. But, you’ll see that at the large plants.

They’ll have plexiglass separations between all the workers to keep them safe. So, that’s already been done. If they require more, that is really going to change the cost factor,” said Moore.

Moore says it’ll be even harder for smaller plants to adapt, meaning even higher prices for the end consumer.

Larger meat packing plants around the country, like Tyson, are offering free COVID-19 vaccines to employees to combat the pandemic and limit possible regulations.

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