US meatpacker Smithfield Foods Inc. has mounted a legal challenge to Iowa's law prohibiting meatpacker ownership of livestock.

The company has been joined by fellow meat processors Murphy Farms LLC and Prestage-Stoecker in its legal challenge. Smithfield feels that it was unfairly singled out by the Iowa Legislature last spring when it reinforced its prohibition of packers owning livestock in Iowa.

Smithfield yesterday [Tuesday] filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in an attempt to combat what it calls "anti-Smithfield legislation".

A representative for Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said he and his staff are reviewing the lawsuit: "As always, we will defend the validity of this statute as passed by the Legislature," Bob Brammer said. "That's our duty."