Walmart is the latest company to file a lawsuit against some of the country’s top poultry companies, claiming that the broiler industry conspired to drive up the price of chicken.
In its suit, filed in the Western District of Arkansas, the nation’s largest retailer alleged that certain poultry companies conspired to raise prices by sharing proprietary data and curtailing the supply over the period from 2008 to 2016.
The lawsuit’s claims are similar to those of other suits that have been filed against leading poultry companies. However, one significant difference is some of the companies that were sued in lawsuits alleging poultry industry collusion were absent from the latest piece of litigation.
The defendant poultry companies in the lawsuit include Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Foods, Sanderson Farms, House of Raeford Farms, Mar-Jac Poultry, Perdue Farms, Wayne Farms, O.K. Foods, Peco Foods, Harrison Poultry, Foster Farms, Claxton Poultry, Mountaire Farms, Amick Farms and Case Foods. Agri Stats is also listed as a defendant.
However, Walmart, which is headquartered in Arkansas, did not include Tyson Foods, Simmons Foods or George’s in its lawsuit. All three companies are also based in Arkansas. Tyson’s and George’s headquarters are in Springdale, while Simmons’ headquarters are in Siloam Springs.
Not all Arkansas companies, however, were immune to the lawsuit. O.K. Foods, the U.S. subsidiary of Mexican company Bachoco, is headquartered in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
A report from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), revealed that Walmart accounts for more than 17 percent of Tyson’s consolidated sales over the past three fiscal years, reported the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Other companies to file lawsuits alleging poultry industry collusion include Darden Restaurants, B.J.’s Wholesale Club, Kroger, Albertsons Companies, Hy-Vee, Kraft Heinz, Conagra Brands, Nestle and Pinnacle Foods.
Fieldale Farms had been targeted in an earlier lawsuit and decided to reach a settlement. The settlement was not an admission of guilt, but rather a means for the business to no longer be distracted with the litigation.