Major U.S. Supermarkets Accuse Tyson Foods of Chicken Price Fixing

Major U.S. Supermarkets Accuse Tyson Foods of Chicken Price Fixing
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Tyson Foods and Pilgrims Pride, two of the nation’s leading chicken producers, are being accused of price fixing in a lawsuit filed by some of the largest supermarket chains in the U.S.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in a Chicago federal court, alleges that the chicken producers were knowingly working to limit supplies and increase prices to its retail partners between 2008 and 2016.

The plaintiffs in the suit include the southeast’s leading grocery chain Publix Super Markets Inc., Wakfern Food Corp., Associated Grocers of the South Inc. and Meijer Inc., along with OSI Restaurant Partners LLC.

Kroger Co., the largest U.S. supermarket chain by volume, also filed a similar suit against the chicken producers late last month with Albertsons Cos. and Hy-Vee Inc.

“We are disappointed by the recent case filed by our customers,” Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman said Tuesday in an email to Bloomberg. “The lawsuits are unfounded, and we are determined to defend against these baseless claims.”

According to the website Just-Food, Tyson was also recently named in a lawsuit along with Hormel over similar allegations of attempting to inflate pork prices.

“The litigants claim defendant Agri Stats began giving pork companies ‘benchmarking’ reports, which typically allow comparisons of profits and performance but also offered ‘sensitive’ data on costs, prices and slaughter rates and the ability to decipher which data belonged to which companies and as a result control supply and price,” reports Just-Food.

“The provision of this detailed information acts as the proverbial smoke-filled room of the cartels of yesteryear,” the complaint said.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.