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Sugar Producers in Antitrust Cross-Hairs

 |  March 20, 2024

Several major sugar producers in the United States have found themselves entangled in a web of allegations, as class-action lawsuits filed in federal court in Minnesota this week accused them of violating antitrust laws and engaging in price-fixing schemes.

Among the accused are some of the nation’s largest sugar producers, including Edina-based United Sugar Producers and Refiners, which is a cooperative comprising American Crystal Sugar; Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative; and Wyoming Sugar. The lawsuits also named industry giants Cargill, Domino, and Michigan Sugar among the defendants.

The plaintiffs, including Great Harvest Bread in Duluth, Morelos Bakery in St. Paul, and a Connecticut restaurant group, assert that since at least 2019, the accused sugar producers have been part of an orchestrated effort to artificially inflate, fix, stabilize, or maintain granulated sugar prices across the United States.

According to the lawsuits, monthly sugar price reports from Utah-based company Commodity facilitated this alleged conspiracy, which has had far-reaching effects on consumers and businesses alike.

United Sugar Producers swiftly responded to the allegations, vehemently denying any wrongdoing. In a statement issued following the filing of the lawsuits, the company stated, “While it is our longstanding practice to not comment extensively on litigation, we believe this case has no merit, and we will vigorously defend ourselves from its baseless accusations. Even so, we will not let it distract us from our mission and our business: delivering the highest-quality sugar to our customers at the best possible prices.”
Soutce: Startribune