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Pork Processing Giants Seek Dismissal of Antitrust Case Over Alleged Price Fixing

 |  June 12, 2024

Several leading pork processing companies have petitioned a federal judge to dismiss an extensive antitrust case that accuses them and the agricultural data firm Agri Stats of colluding to fix pork prices.

Clemens Food Group, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield Foods, Triumph Foods and Tyson Foods submitted motions for dismissal late last week, according to court records. In tandem, Agri Stats has requested summary judgment in their favor, seeking to be absolved from the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in this case are composed of five groups representing various sectors of the buyer end of the supply chain. They allege that these companies manipulated pork prices through shared data facilitated by Agri Stats, creating an artificial inflation of prices to the detriment of buyers.

Related: Minnesota Federal Judge Upholds Ruling in Pork Industry Antitrust Case

The case has garnered significant attention, notably from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), which last year filed a separate lawsuit against Agri Stats on similar grounds. This federal lawsuit is supported by five states, accusing Agri Stats of knowingly conspiring with producers in the pork, poultry and beef industries to fix prices. Recently, a federal court denied Agri Stats’ request to dismiss that case, signaling ongoing judicial scrutiny.

In the current pork industry case, Minnesota District Court Judge John Tunheim consolidated 27 lawsuits in 2022, involving 146 parties. The consolidated lawsuit amalgamates various actions that assert America’s largest pork producers and integrators engaged in illegal activities to limit pork supply and fix prices, violating both federal and state antitrust laws. Collectively, these companies hold over 80% of the wholesale pork market, amplifying the stakes of the legal proceedings.

Source: Swine Web