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Danger in the Safety Zone: Information Sharing in the Meat Processing Industry

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Meat prices have skyrocketed across America, contributing to record inflation. A spate of recent litigation suggests that cartel-like behavior in the meat processing industry is to blame. This Comment sheds light on one critical aspect of these potential meat cartels: information sharing facilitated by Agri Stats, a privately-held data analytics company. Agri Stats shares highly detailed and competitively sensitive data between meat processors. Remarkably, Agri Stats’ conduct appears to fall within the FTC and DOJ’s “safety zone” for permissible information exchange. This Comment is the first scholarly work to trace the haphazard development of the information-exchange safety zone, and argues that wholesale reform of existing safety-zone guidance is necessary to adequately disincentivize anticompetitive behavior in the meat processing industry and beyond.