The US Department of Justice is to allow the sale of bankrupt Farmland Industries’ pork business, Farmland Foods, despite competition concerns from some parts of the industry.

US pork processor Smithfield Foods has offered to buy Farmland Foods for US$363.5m, while agribusiness Cargill recently put an offer of $385m for the business, reported Dow Jones International News.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and Senator Tim Johnson had asked the Justice Department’s antitrust regulators to investigate the effect on the meat industry of the possible sale of Farmland to Smithfield, which is the largest US pork processor.

“It’s disheartening that the Justice Department won’t intervene in the bankruptcy court’s sale of Farmland Foods,” Grassley was quoted by Dow Jones as saying. “The continued trend in agriculture concentration works against the family farmer, and today’s news is very bad for Iowa’s independent pork producers.”

The bankruptcy court is to oversee an auction later this month that will determine who buys Farmland.