Saturday, July 9, 2022

A new round of price-fixing lawsuits

 A new round of price-fixing lawsuits has been filed against giant meat-packing companies in the United States.

Sysco Corporation, one of the country’s largest food distributing companies is suing four dominant beef packers — Cargill, JBS, National Beef and Tyson Foods.

The lawsuit was filed in Texas and alleges that the processors engaged in an "illegal conspiracy" that "increased the wholesale price for beef sold in the United States beginning at least as early as 2015 and continuing through the present."

Sysco is suing for injunctive relief and treble damages under U.S. antitrust law, and is demanding a jury trial.

The complaint notes that in 2018, the four packers sold about 80 per cent of the fresh and frozen beef in the U.S. market, which amounted to more than 25 billion pounds. They collectively controlled 81 to 85 per cent of cattle slaughter from 2015 to the present.

And for pork, three separate, but nearly identical, lawsuits have been filed alleging “anticompetitive conduct” and price-fixing for a large numbe4 of pork products. 

These cases were filed in New York by Target Corp., Aramark Services and Quality Supply Chain Co-op, a unit of the Wendy’s QSR chain. They are all represented by the same attorneys at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

Defendants include Agri-Stats, Clemens, Hormel, JBS USA, Seaboard, Smithfield, Triumph and Tyson.