The Rise of the Chicago Packers and the Origins of Meat Inspection and Antitrust
NBER Historical Working Paper No. 29
The Meat Inspection Act of 1891 and the Sherman Act of 1890 are shown to be closely tied. This link makes clearer Congress' intent in enacting the legislation. Both laws were products of conditions in the economy after 1880, and they reflected in part, a common concern about the Chicago packers, or Beef trust. The concerns of local slaughterhouses, which were being displaced by new, low-cost refrigerated beef, and of farmers, who sold their livestock to the large Chicago packers, were echoed elsewhere by other small businesses and farmers, who feared for their competitive positions during a time of structural change in the economy.
Published: Economic Inquiry, Vol. 30 (1992): 242-262.