Wednesday, February 2, 2022

JBS pays $52.5 million over beef price-fixing

JBS USA has agreed to pay $52.5 million to resolve a class action antitrust lawsuit over price-fixing the markets for case-ready and boxed beef.

It is the first settlement in the coordinated beef antitrust cases.


In addition to the payment, JBS agreed to "extensive cooperation" in the continued prosecution of the litigation, according to documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota. JBS denied all allegations of wrongdoing in the case.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Cargill, National Beef and Tyson. Plaintiffs alleged the companies conspired to fix prices of beef processed from fed cattle, beginning as early as January 2015, in part by constraining supply, resulting in increased U.S. beef prices. The case excludes ground beef made from culled cows.

Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Bi-Lo Holding, and Erbert & Gerbert's Inc. are among the plaintiffs.

Cargill and JBS dominate the Canadian beef markets, yet there have been no complaints from suppliers or customers about price-fixing here.