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USDA Will Investigate Surging Beef Prices

The United States Secretary of Agriculture has announced that the agency will conduct an investigation into why surging beef prices amid the coronavirus crisis has not resulted in higher prices for cattle. The announcement follows a request by United States Senators last month for the Department of Justice to investigate beef price-fixing.

Turkey Companies Accused of Conspiracy and Price Hiking

A New York Deli has filed suit against top turkey producers, including Perdue, Tyson, Butterball, and Hormel, alleging that the companies conspired to illegally trade price data and raise the price of their products.

Chicken Wage-Fixing Suits to be Consolidated

A federal judge has granted former chicken producers’ request that related cases alleging chicken companies fixed employee wages be consolidated. The suits have been brought under the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Dairy Farmers of America to Purchase Dean Foods

Following milk supplier Dean Foods’ bankruptcy last year, Dairy Farmers of America has agreed to pay $425 million to acquire 44 of the company’s facilities and certain corporate assets. The deal is subject to approval by the U.S. Department of Justice.

USDA Seeks Input on $500 Million Investment to Enhance Competitiveness in Meat and Poultry Industry

The United States Department of Agriculture is requesting public comments “on how to invest an estimated $500 million of American Rescue Plan funds to improve infrastructure, increase capacity, and hasten diversification across the processing industry.” The funding is part of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. The USDA will consider all comments received by August 30, 2021, while comments submitted after that date will be considered “to the extent practicable.”

Cattle Antitrust Litigation Dismissed

A federal judge in Minnesota has granted defendants’ motion to dismiss in a consolidation of several class actions alleging the nation’s largest meat packers conspired to fix the price of cattle.

Jury Acquits Egg Industry of Price Fixing Charges

A federal jury in Pennsylvania has rejected claims that egg producer Rose Acre Farms Inc. participated in an industry conspiracy to give hens used to produce eggs more cage space as a pretext for reducing the supply of eggs.

Pilgrim’s Pride Fined Over $107 Million in Price-Fixing Criminal Case

Pilgrim’s Pride has pled guilty to conspiring to fix the price of chicken products sold for food and has been fined $107,923,572.

Major Beef Producers Face Another Conspiracy and Price-Fixing Lawsuit

The owner of a small food services company sued the largest beef production companies in the world, including JBS, Cargill, Swift Beef, Tyson Foods, and National Beef Packing Company, alleging the beef processors have conspired to artificially inflate and fix the price of beef throughout the United States since at least 2015 in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. JBS, the largest beef producer in the world, recently agreed to pay $52.5 million to settle another price-fixing lawsuit, and the U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating possible price-fixing in the industry since at least 2020. In the instant case, Plaintiff Amory Investments, LLC is seeking declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and treble damages.   

Salmon Company Under DOJ Antitrust Investigation

The salmon farming company Mowi has announced it is being investigated for price-fixing.