Major Pork Processors Seek Dismissal of Antitrust Case

Jun 17, 2024

Several leading pork processing companies have petitioned a federal judge to dismiss a wide-ranging antitrust case accusing them, along with Agri Stats, of colluding to fix pork prices.

Clemens Food Group, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield Foods, Triumph Foods, and Tyson Foods all filed motions for dismissal late last week, as indicated by court records. Agricultural data firm Agri Stats also requested summary judgment to be granted in their favor against the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs, comprising five groups from various sectors of the buyer end of the supply chain, allege that these companies manipulated prices through data shared via Agri Stats.

This case has drawn significant attention, including from the United States Department of Justice, which filed a separate lawsuit against Agri Stats last year on similar grounds. Five states have joined the federal agency, accusing Agri Stats of knowingly conspiring with pork, poultry, and beef producers. A federal court recently denied Agri Stats’ request to have that case dismissed.

In the ongoing pork case, Minnesota District Court Judge John Tunheim consolidated 27 lawsuits in 2022, involving 146 parties. The consolidated case brings together numerous separately filed actions alleging that America’s largest pork producers and integrators conspired to limit pork supply and fix prices, in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. Collectively, these companies control more than 80% of the wholesale pork market.

The outcome of this legal battle could have significant implications for the pork industry and its pricing practices moving forward.

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