… Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is on an mission to block and dismantle corporate consolidation in agriculture…



Sen. Booker targets corporate consolidation in agriculture for ‘fundamentally broken’ US food system


By Elizabeth Crawford, Food Navigator USA



Decrying the US food system as “fundamentally broken and worsening the challenge of justice in our country,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is on an mission to block and dismantle corporate consolidation in agriculture, which he argues places profits over the safety of workers, the food supply, animals and the planet.


“It is not a dramatization to say that we produce and consume food in this country ​[in a way that is] quite literally a matter of life and death,”​ Booker told attendees at the Consumer Federation of America’s virtual National Food Policy Conference July 28.


“This is true for our workers in America for being forced, right now, to risk their lives, to get food on our plates, as they are crowded into meat-packing plants that become hotbeds for COVID-19 outbreaks,”​ and it is true for independent family farmers and ranchers whose share of the consumer dollar has fallen precipitously leading to “heartbreaking stories of farmer suicides that right now are on the rise,”​ Booker said.


He argued it is also true for the American public who suffer from diabetes, heart disease and childhood obesity “at rates not seen by previous generations as cheap, unhealthy foods have become the new normal,”​ while at the same time 14 million US children suffer food insecurity.


Finally, he argued, it also is true for farm animals, billions of which he said are “treated with such immense cruelty that we are forced to look away from how we deal with industrial farming rather than admit that such horror is going on on a daily basis on our soil.”​


80% of the beef market controlled by four companies


According to Booker, “the main reason for this is corporate consolidation,”​ which he says extends across the entire food and farm economy, but is most starkly visible in the control of 80% of the beef market controlled by just four companies.


“Large multinational corporations, because of their size and money, have undue influence over the marketplace and undue influence over public policy and undue influence here in Washington, DC. And they've created this massive system that benefits primarily theirselves as these multinational corporations are making bigger and bigger profits at the expense of our nation,”​ he lamented.


In response, Booker says he has proposed and supported more than a half dozen bills that directly target corporate consolidation in agriculture that aim to “create a new system that better reflects our values.”​


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