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South African competition watchdog raids meat suppliers over price fixing

FBR Staff Writer Published 15 June 2017

The Competition Commission of South Africa has launched raids at 13 premises of seven meat suppliers in three provinces as part of its investigation into the alleged fixing of prices and trading conditions.

Under the scanner of the Commission probe are Karan Beef, Sparta Foods, Chalmar Beef, Beefmaster Kimberley, Morgan Beef, Beefcor, Fabvleis and Midland Meat.

The seven meat companies operate in Gauteng, the Free State and Northern Cape provinces.

The Competition Commission stated: “The search and seizure operations are conducted with due regard to the rights of all the affected persons.

“The Commission obtained search and seizure warrants from the High Court Gauteng Division, Pretoria; the Northern Cape Division, Kimberley; and the Free State Division in Bloemfontein in terms of section 46 of the Competition Act.”

As per the Commission, the meat suppliers buy weaner calves from farmers to feed them in bulk for the preparation for slaughtering in beef production. The meat suppliers under the probe also sell beef to both wholesale and retail customers.

It is alleged that the seven meat suppliers have entered into an understanding, and perhaps may have also engaged to collude in practices to fix the prices and trading conditions for buying weaner calves from farmers.

Another allegation faced by the meat suppliers is that they had come to an agreement to fix the selling prices of their meat products to wholesale and retail customers.

Terming the meat industry to be a significant part of the food sector and as one of its priority sectors, the Commission said that it continues to be committed to fight collusion in the food industry.

Image: South Africa’s Competition Commission is investigating into price fixing by seven meat suppliers. Photo: courtesy of Suat Eman/Freedigitalphotos.net.