Chicken Industry Is On the Target of US Government

The United States government, as part of an investigation into the chicken industry, is trying to intervene in a price-fixing lawsuit brought towards the country’s biggest poultry producers.

The Justice Department had notified Tyson (TSN) in April that it convened a grand jury and subpoenaed the corporate to offer proof. On Friday, department lawyers requested a judge to halt evidence collection in the lawsuit for six months to ensure the integrity of the grand jury’s investigation. The Justice Division, in its court filing on Friday, mentioned it is pursuing a probe just like the civil complaint.

The underlying case was brought in September 2016 by Maplevale Farms, a New York meals service distributor.

According to its complaint, Maplevale claims that 28 rooster corporations “conspired and combined to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of broilers,” which are the predominant kind of chickens raised for production in America. Maplevale alleges the chicken producers coordinated their output and restricted hen manufacturing with the intent to increase costs.

An announcement on Tuesday, Tyson mentioned the Justice Department’s request to intervene within the Maplevale Farms “does not change our view that there’s merely no merit to the allegations that Tyson Foods colluded with rivals. We stay dedicated to vigorously defending ourselves against these baseless allegations.”

Sanderson said that it “continues to consider the civil plaintiffs’ claims as to Sanderson Farms are wholly without merit, and we’re committed to defending the case vigorously.” Pilgrim’s Pride said it “strongly denies any allegations of anti-competitive conduct [and] welcomes the opportunity to defend itself against these claims through the legal course of.”

The Justice Department declined to comment. Perdue declined to comment.

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