Sysco, the largest food-service company in North America, has filed suit against the biggest pork processors in the United States, alleging that they conspired to co-ordinate and limit production and fix prices since 2009.
Sysco, which is based in Houston, Texas, seeks a jury trial and that damages be tripled under U.S. antitrust laws.
A similar lawsuit was filed in Minnesota naming many of the same companies,. Beef and poultry customers have also filed their suppliers, citing price-fixing arising out of their use of data provided by Agri Stats.
A.C. Neilson provides similar data in Canada and the major supermarkets use it to keep track of their competitors’ prices.
Named as defendants in the new lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Houston, are Clemens Food Group, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield Foods, Triumph Foods, Tyson Foods and Agri Stats.
Together they account for 80 per cent of the U.S. pork supply.
JBS in November reached a class action settlement with director purchaser plaintiffs in the Minnesota case, agreeing to pay $24.5 million to compensate plaintiffs for damages suffered and expenses. JBS denied the allegations in the lawsuit.