Pork Antitrust Litigation
In July of 2021, a class action antitrust complaint was filed in Federal Court in the Northern District of New York against several pork industry giants. The complaint alleged that the pork integrator defendants conspired with each other and with defendant Agri Stats to “fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of pork” in violation of Federal Antitrust laws.
Defendant Agri Stats, the complaint alleged, provided comprehensive reports to the defendants that were customized and would not be normally provided in a lawful and competitive market. The plaintiff explained that “the data exchanged through Agri Stats is a classic enforcement and implementation mechanism of a price-fixing scheme.” Agri Stats also ensured that its “detailed, sensitive business information was available only to pork producers and not to the public or purchasers like Plaintiff.” Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants simply coordinated and limited both output and production in an effort to increase United States pork prices.
As of April of 2022, there have been two settlements by defendants Smithfield Foods, Inc. and JBS USA Food Company for a combined $101,864,300.
In addition to Smithfield Foods and JBS, defendant pork producers named in the plaintiffs' complaint were Clemens Food Group, LLC, The Clemens Family Corporation, Hormel Foods Corporation, Indiana Packers Corporation, Seaboard Foods LLC, Smithfield Foods, Inc., Triumph Foods, LLC, Tyson Foods, Inc., Tyson Prepared Foods, Inc., andTyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Collectively, the named defendants control more than 80% of the USA wholesale pork market, according to the filing.