Iowa congressional candidate warns concentrated meatpacking industry makes food supply less secure

J.D. Scholten, a Democratic congressional candidate in Iowa, warned on Monday that the concentration of the U.S.  meatpacking industry makes the food supply less stable.

Scholten, who is running to replace Republican Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingRep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance In Marjorie Taylor Greene, a glimpse of the future House votes to kick Greene off committees over embrace of conspiracy theories MORE in western Iowa, told Hill.TV that having about 50 plants that process 98 percent of the meat in the U.S. leads to a lack of resiliency and flexibility in the industry. 

“If we’re gonna be a secure nation, we have to be a food secure nation,” he said. “So coming out of this I’m hoping that we realize that we need change.”

The congressional candidate also expressed concern for farmers, some of whom have had to euthanize their livestock and others have not received fair prices for their products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data Friday showing more than 4,900 workers in meat processing plants have tested positive for coronavirus. In the meantime, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny PerdueSonny PerdueThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Georgia election day is finally here; Trump hopes Pence 'comes through for us' to overturn results Civil war between MAGA, GOP establishment could hand Dems total control Trump administration races to finish environmental rules, actions MORE is working with closed plants to reopen and keep the U.S. meat supply stable.

“It’s something where both the workers and the farmers are getting screwed,” Scholten said.