The US Senator for Vermont, Bernard Sanders, has asked the US Department of Justice to investigate possible antitrust violations by Dean Foods.

Sanders claimed that consolidation of the US liquid milk market has depressed dairy prices.

Dean Foods purchases about 70% of the fluid milk produced in New England, a spokesperson for Sanders’ office told just-food.

“The scale of the company is what could present an anti-trust issue,” the spokesperson said.

Farmers in Vermont have seen falling returns and, according to Sanders, are losing about US$100 per cow, per month.

“Vermont dairy farmers are facing an unprecedented crisis,” the spokesperson said.

It will be “some time” before The Department of Justice reaches a decision over whether further action is required, the spokesperson added.

Officials from Dean Foods could not be reached for immediate comment.