free webpage hit counter

The meatpackers are still facing price-fixing complaints in federal court in Minnesota

Price-fixing lawsuits filed against the meat industry in recent years have piled up in federal court in Minnesota, where a judge could decide if the world’s largest pork and beef suppliers tried to fix prices illegally.

Smithfield, the nation’s largest pork producer, said this week it agreed to pay its customers $42 million, which must be approved by Minnesota federal judge John Tunheim, who is overseeing the case, at a hearing scheduled for October.

And while one meatpacker is choosing to move on from the issue, lawsuits remain active against other defendants: Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods, Tyson Foods, Seaboard Foods, Triumph Foods and AgriStats — database companies that plaintiffs accuse of manipulating the market.

In an e-mail to the Star Tribune, a spokesperson for Hormel said the company has been fighting similar claims for four years.

“We consider these claims to be baseless and are vigorously defending the allegations and will continue to do so,” the spokesperson said.

It was one of a series of antitrust lawsuits filed by various consumers across the country against powerful chicken, beef and pork companies.

Last month, a string of lawsuits from various federal districts — alleging all sorts of price-fixing schemes in the beef industry — landed on Tunheim’s desk in Minnesota.

Complaints from beef buyers, including Subway restaurant chains and grocers, Name the “Big 4” beef producers as defendants: JBS, National Beef Packing, Tyson and Minnetonka-based agricultural giant Cargill. Lawyers say the companies participated in a conspiracy to reduce the number of cattle slaughtered en masse in order to maximize profits.

Beginning in 2015, the lawsuit alleges that the companies implemented a “scheme to artificially restrict the supply of beef entering the domestic supply chain.”

“We believe the propositions lack merit and are confident in our efforts to maintain market integrity and conduct ethical business,” Cargill spokesman Don Sullivan said in an e-mail.

A confidential witness at a Texas slaughter plant — owned and operated by a JBS subsidiary — said plant officials agreed to reduce inventory to lift margins, according to court filings.

The Smithfield Pork settlement was reached a year after a federal panel consolidated lawsuits from around the country into a multidistrict lawsuit involving major pork industry players.

Kentucky Judge Karen K. A panel of federal judges chaired by Caldwell ordered the consolidation in Minnesota last June, saying Judge Tunheim was the “logical choice” to oversee the litigation, having presided over the opposing cases going back. 2018.

According to the lawsuit, the top-four pork producers controlled 70% of the market by 2015 — nearly doubling the market share since 1988. Plaintiffs allege that JBS, Tyson and Hormel, among others, relied on Agri’s statistics starting with a “benchmark” in 2009. Price of pork.

In its settlement, Virginia-based Smithfield denied wrongdoing but agreed to pay millions to buyers, including restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings and grocery stores like Hy-Vee.

This past November, Tunheim wrote about the complex legal task of consolidating dozens of cases going forward.

“As with any complex litigation with multiple parties,” Tunheim wrote at the time, “there is no perfect solution.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Electric Playhouse collaborates with the ABQ artist to create interactive works inspired by nature
Next post How to start the DLC in Cuphead: The Last Course of Deliciousness