The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to investigate beef pricing margins for evidence of unfair practices as part of efforts to monitor the impact of a recent fire at a beef factory in the US state of Kansas.

In a statement released yesterday, Wednesday, August 28, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue gave comments on the matter regarding the incident at a beef processing facility owned by Tyson Foods in Holcomb, Kansas:

“As part of our continued efforts to monitor the impact of the fire at the beef processing facility in Holcomb, Kansas, I have directed USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division to launch an investigation into recent beef pricing margins to determine if there is any evidence of price manipulation, collusion, restrictions of competition or other unfair practices.

If any unfair practices are detected, we will take quick enforcement action. USDA remains in close communication with plant management and other stakeholders to understand the fire’s impact to industry.

"I have spent this summer visiting with cattle ranchers across the country, and I know this is a difficult time for the industry as a whole.

"USDA is committed to ensuring support is available to ranchers who work hard to the feed the US and the world.”

Earlier this month, a fire partly destroyed the Tyson Foods beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas, on Friday, August 9.

Tyson Foods in a statement confirmed that the plant will be down indefinitely; however, the company plans to rebuild the plant at the same location.