Minnesota Farm Bureau

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Cargill settles for $12.5M over faulty beef grading
USAgNet - 02/21/2024

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a fine to Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation, a major player in the meat processing industry, for underpaying cattle sellers by $12.5 million.

This action came after it was discovered that over 300,000 carcasses were inaccurately graded at four of Cargill's processing plants over seven months, from August 2021 to March 2022.

The issue was traced back to faulty video equipment used for grading, which was not up to the standards set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Cargill reported the issue to the USDA in March 2022, and by May 2022, had compensated the affected sellers using corrected yield grades. In addition to the financial settlement, Cargill has been ordered to adhere to proper camera grading installation standards and cease using inaccurate grading techniques. The USDA also imposed a civil penalty of $155,000 on Cargill for these violations.

This case highlights the importance of fair competition and trade practices in the agriculture sector, protected under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

The USDA's action against Cargill reflects the government's commitment to enforcing these standards and ensuring that farmers, ranchers, and consumers are protected from unfair practices. It also emphasizes the need for accurate and fair grading of livestock, which is crucial for the integrity of the meat processing industry.

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