January 8, 2024

 

Major US meat processors face renewed antitrust lawsuits over alleged beef price-fixing

 
 


In a legal reprisal, United States meat industry giants Cargill Inc, JBS SS, Tyson Foods Inc, and National Beef Packing Co are once again in the legal spotlight, grappling with antitrust lawsuits accusing them of colluding to manipulate beef prices, Meat + Poultry reported.

 

The US District Court of the Eastern District of New York received four complaints on December 29, each filed by entities including Quality Supply Chain Co-Op, Gordon Food Service Inc, Glazier Foods Co, Target Corp., and BJ's Wholesale Club Inc.

 

The plaintiffs assert that these meat processors engaged in a conspiracy to artificially inflate beef prices, an alleged practice dating back to January 1, 2015.

 

Court documents point to conversations between a former JBS Swift Beef employee and James Hooker, the head of fabrication at a Swift plant, as evidence of collusion. Moreover, the plaintiffs highlight a purported slaughter reduction agreement among the meat packers as part of the alleged price-fixing scheme.

 

This recent legal action echoes similar allegations made in a lawsuit filed by Compass Group and another by a group of small food distributors in October 2023.

 

The accusations revive scrutiny on the practices of these major players in the meat industry, following a 2020 investigation by the Department of Justice. At that time, subpoenas were issued to Cargill, JBS, Tyson Foods, and National Beef to probe potential anticompetitive activities.

 

-      Meat + Poultry

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