Maplevale Farms, a foodservice provider that serves parts of New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, has files a class-action antitrust lawsuit against many of the country’s top poultry processors, alleging that they conspired to manipulate the supply of chicken to keep the price of birds artificially high. According to the Cook County Record, the lawsuit names Koch Foods, Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms and Sanderson Farms among the 14 defendants.

The Record reports, “The complaint centers on the supply of so-called “broilers,” the kind of chickens that supply the vast majority of all chicken sold and consumed in the U.S. According to the complaint, the value of the broiler market in the U.S. ranged from $21 billion to $31 billion from 2008-2013, and rose to $32.7 billion in 2014.

“According the complaint, at a time their input costs were falling – in particular, the prices of the corn and soybeans used to feed their chickens – the prices of broilers remained stubbornly high, relative to past “boom and bust” cycles.

“The lawsuit pinned the blame on the historically unusual price stability on alleged cooperation between the large poultry producers.”

Maplevale said the actions were taken by the industry in response to calls from Tyson and Pilgrim’s, in particular, to significantly trim the flocks and pinch supply.

Source: Cook County Record