Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the largest poultry producers in the United States, said Wednesday it would pay $ 110.5 million to settle federal fees, helped set prices and then passed on higher costs. for chicken meat to consumers, restaurants and supermarkets.
The Colorado-based company said it agreed to a fine to “restrict competition” in the sale of chicken in three contracts to a customer in the United States, the statement said. The agreement reached with the Department of Justice will have to be approved by the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.
The antitrust department of the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it has entered into a recognition agreement with Pligrim’s Pride, which is subject to court approval. He did not provide any details about the deal.
The agreement could help ease pressure on Pilgrim’s Pride, which is among a number of major poultry producers who have been battling price claims for years. Pilgrim’s Pride said the agreement included a provision that the Justice Department would no longer file charges against the company in the matter. The company also noted that it should not pay restitution or be monitored under the agreement.
Last year, the Department of Justice intervened in a lawsuit filed by large chicken customers against Pilgrim’s Pride, Tyson Foods and other producers. The lawsuit states that the companies made coordinated production cuts, which led to a significant increase in the prices of broiler chickens, which represents the vast majority of all chicken meat sold in the United States. Customers noted that chicken prices were rising while feed costs were falling.
The companies disputed the allegations.
In 2019, Pilgrim’s Pride reported sales of $ 11.4 billion. He said the $ 110.5 million fine would be recorded as “miscellaneous expenses” in its next quarterly report.