Tyson Foods settles more of chicken price-fixing litigation

(Reuters) – Tyson Foods Inc agreed to settle price-fixing litigation by consumers who accused it of illegally conspiring to inflate prices in the $65 billion chicken industry.

FILE PHOTO: Chicken is pictured in New York March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

The settlement with so-called “end-user” consumers was disclosed in a Tuesday filing in Chicago federal court.

It came eight days after Tyson agreed to settle related antitrust claims by purchasers who bought chickens directly from the Springdale, Arkansas-based company.

Terms were not disclosed. Neither settlement affects similar claims by restaurant and supermarket operators such as Chick-fil-A, Kroger Co and Walmart Inc.

Tyson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp, owned mainly by Brazil’s JBS SA, agreed on Jan. 11 to pay $75 million to settle claims by direct purchasers of chickens.

The settlements require court approval.

Restaurants, supermarkets, food distributors and consumers accused chicken producers of having conspired since 2008 to inflate chicken prices, through tactics such as restricting production and sharing nonpublic data about supply and demand.

Perdue Farms Inc and Sanderson Farms Inc are among the other defendants in the litigation, which began in 2016. A few smaller producers have settled related claims.

The U.S. Department of Justice last year filed criminal price-fixing and bid-rigging charges in Denver against 10 poultry industry executives. All have pleaded not guilty.

The case is In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 16-08637.

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