Thursday, October 28, 2021

Chicken price-fixing trial begins

A trial for 10 poultry industry executives accused of conspiring to increase the price of chicken got underway in Denver this week.

The defendants, who worked for five U.S. poultry companies including Tyson, Pilgrim's Pride and Claxton Poultry Farms, are charged with conspiring to suppress and eliminate competition through rigging bids and fixing prices and price-related terms for broiler chickens from 2012 to 2019. The defendants have pleaded not guilty.

During his opening, Department of Justice lawyer Michael Koenig accused the defendants of coming together to create “massive, historic price increases” and blocking foodservice customers' efforts to negotiate lower prices, Bloomberg observed.

“The 10 defendants in this courtroom worked together to make sure they were not competing,” communicating in a variety of ways to coordinate pricing and guarantee high profits, Koenig was quoted as saying. “The fix was in, and the defendants didn’t budge.”

John Fagg,, lawyer for one of the defendants, said there was no agreement among these men to fix prices or to rig bids.