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Tyson Foods reaches more settlements in chicken price-fixing litigation

Tyson Foods reaches more settlements in chicken price-fixing litigation

FILE PHOTO: Chicken is pictured in New York March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

REUTERS: Tyson Foods Inc agreed to settle price-fixing litigation with two more groups of plaintiffs accusing it of illegally conspiring to inflate prices in the US$65 billion chicken industry.

The settlements with so-called "end-user" consumers and with more than 30 commercial purchasers were disclosed in filings on Tuesday in federal court in Chicago.

Eight days ago, Tyson agreed to settle related antitrust claims by purchasers who bought chickens directly from the Springdale, Arkansas-based company.

Tyson has also faced price-fixing claims by large restaurant and supermarket operators such as Chick-fil-A, Kroger Co and Walmart Inc.

Terms of the settlements were not disclosed, and court approvals are required. Tyson had no immediate comment.

Pilgrim's Pride Corp, owned mainly by Brazil's JBS SA, agreed on Jan. 11 to pay US$75 million to settle claims by direct purchasers of chickens.

Restaurants, supermarkets, food distributors and consumers accused chicken producers of having conspired since 2008 to inflate chicken prices, through tactics such as restricting production and sharing nonpublic data about supply and demand.

Perdue Farms Inc and Sanderson Farms Inc are among the other defendants in the litigation, which began in 2016. A few smaller producers have settled related claims.

The U.S. Department of Justice last year filed criminal price-fixing and bid-rigging charges in Denver against 10 poultry industry executives. All have pleaded not guilty.

The case is In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 16-08637.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Grant McCool)

Source: Reuters

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