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Smithfield Foods agrees to fine $ 42 million in pork price-fixing proceedings

MoneyWatch: Highest meat price ever

Smithfield Foods will pay restaurants and caterers $ 42 million to settle a lawsuit accused of a giant meat producer colluding to raise pork prices.

Lawyers began notifying companies affected by this latest settlement on Tuesday. Earlier, Smithfield settled with another group of pork buyers for $ 83 million, and JBS agreed to pay restaurants and catering companies $ 12.75 million in pork proceedings. Earlier this year, JBS said it would pay $ 52.5 million to settle a similar beef price-fixing proceeding.

Neither Smithfield nor JBS have admitted fraud as part of these settlements, and officials at Smithfield Headquarters in Virginia declined to comment on the details of the transaction.

Additional price-fixing proceedings have been filed against chicken producers, and so far nearly $ 200 million have been settled in chicken price-fixing cases. Has been approved. 

Pilgrims Pride Corporation, one of the country's largest chicken producers based in Greeley, Colorado, suedguilty in February 2021. After that, he was fined $ 107 million. Rig bidding for broiler chicken products. 

The restaurant company has sued Smithfield and other meat processors who together control more than 70% of pork production. The proceedings accused the company of limiting pig supplies and coordinating efforts to raise prices between 2009 and this year.

The AgriStats allegedly used the lawsuit to share confidential price, capacity and demand information with other major pork producers such as Hormel, Tyson Foods, Seaboard Foods and Trian Foods. It is in dispute with the database company.

The proceedings state that the personal information in these reports allowed competitors to compare profits and control pork supply and prices.

The meat industry claims that supply and demand factors influence prices rather than anti-competitive behavior, but industry practices include some prominent white houses, parliaments and trade associations. It has been questioned by the members.

Some analysts have also flagged the double-digit price of as the cost of putting food on the table continues to rise and reaches its highest in 40 years. I did. The increase in meat productssince the start of the pandemic.

"They are clearly using it," Ricardo Salvador, a scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit advocate, told CBS News in March. "As you know, they're making money. We're not the only ones observing it."

Tyson, the country's largest meat processor, submitted a quarterly report from the company. According to the company, it made a profit of $ 3 billion in 2021. Reportedly, it made more than $ 1 billion in profits in the last quarter alone. 

The Biden administration has several plans to drive industry competition to help lower food prices, including a $ 1 billion plan to help expand an independent slaughterhouse. We announced our efforts.

The US Department of Justice and Agriculture also created a website earlier this year to make it easier for farmers and ranchers to report concerns about anti-competitive behavior in the industry.

A federal judge in Minnesota will hold a hearing in October to consider whether to approve Smithfield's settlement, but he has already given preliminary approval in April. rice field.

"We are looking forward to moving to seek final approval of the settlement with Smithfield and continuing the proceedings with the remaining defendants," said one of the plaintiffs' lawyers. Brain Finley said.

  • Proceedings
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