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Federal government investigating why meat prices are so high

The Justice Department is investigating extremely high meat prices during the coronavirus pandemic.

Take a trip to the supermarket and expect to see beef cost more. 

That's if there's any on the shelves at all.

"Well, my prices, everybody's prices are going to rise. You know, I don't do this for nothing. You know, I try to make a living here."

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, meat costs more for you. Not for meat processing companies. 

Those companies are paying farmers less and less for beef, and the Departments of Justice and Agriculture want to know why

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average retail price of fresh beef is $6.22 per pound, up  26 cents from March to April. 

A person with direct knowledge of the DOJ investigation tells Fox News officials are probing the irregularities in pricing. 

Under the microscope? The top four beef processors in the United States: Cargill, JBS, National Beef and Tyson Foods. 

These companies control more more than three quarters of the American beef market.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to a\Attorney General Bill Barr on April 1st, pushing for an investigation looking specifically into the possibility of

 "...potential market and price manipulation, collusion and restrictions on competition..."

"When you have 3 or 4 packers, uh, killing about, uh, 75% of all the beef in the country, there are reasons to raise questions whether or not the market place is working."

Grassley is pushing legislation that would increase transparency in cattle pricing. 

DOJ's involvement is not unprecedented.

A century ago, President Woodrow Wilson called for an investigation into the meatpacking industry. 

The result, a settlement with the Department of Justice that helped regulate the industry. 

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