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Food & Beverage

Investigator Hears New York Milk Price Complaints

April 01, 2010
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According to the Associated Press, the nation''s top federal antitrust investigator recently assured desperate dairy farmers that the government also wants to know why they are being paid so little for milk when the price shoppers pay in stores is holding steady. At the invitation of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney met with milk producers from around the state, who blame a lack of competition among milk processors on years of industry consolidation. A report released by Schumer''s office in November found that the price paid to dairy farmers fell by almost half since January 2009. At the same time, the retail price of milk fell just 15 percent. Regulators in Washington have promised to hold hearings on an agricultural sector dominated by big corporations that have consolidated market share over the last two decades and to take aggressive action if necessary. Varney''s office in January filed an antitrust lawsuit against the nation''s largest dairy company, Dallas-based Dean Foods Co., alleging it purchased a smaller dairy company in Wisconsin to quash competition. Dean Foods, which according to the lawsuit has acquired more than 100 smaller companies since 1996, has called the complaint unsound.

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