Fears are growing that the sale of the two New York milk bottling plants owned by beleaguered Italian giant Parmalat could result in a milk monopoly that would be injurious to both farmers and consumers.

Parmalat USA operates two plants in the area, one in the New York borough of Brooklyn and the other in Wallington, New Jersey. Following a corporate accounting scandal, Parmalat has filed for bankruptcy protection and is selling off many assets, including the majority of its US dairy activities.

Democrat Senator Charles Schumer is reported by AP to be warning that a sale of either or both plants to other major players, notably Dean Foods, could lead to a monopoly that would compromise farmer incomes and lead to higher retail prices. Should Dean be allowed to buy the plants, it would enjoy a monopoly of 85-90% of the downstate milk market, Schumer argued. He as asked antitrust authorities to keep a close eye on any proposed sale.