Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms have agreed to pay a total of $35 million to settle a price-fixing lawsuit that had been filed in Oklahoma by poultry growers for the companies. Neither company admits to any wrongdoing, and the lawsuit is still pending for Pilgrim’s Pride, Sanderson Farms and Koch Foods, reports the Associated Press. Perdue will pay $14.75 million, and Tyson will pay $21 million.
The lawsuit that Alabama farmers filed in Oklahoma federal court alleges that the contract grower system the meat companies created pushed them deep into debt to build and maintain chicken barns that met company standards. The suit also claims that the companies colluded to fix farmer compensation at low prices. The farmers reportedly earned between $12,000 and $40,000 a year while working 12- to 16-hour days.
Perdue Farms spokesperson Diana Sauder issued a statement to the Associated Press that said, “As an imperative lifeblood of our business, we value the excellent relationships built on trust we have with our farmers, and remain committed to providing them fair, competitive contracts that benefit them and, therefore, our animals, company, customers, and consumers.”
Source: My San Antonio via AP