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US indicts 6 more chicken executives for rigging market

·1-min read
The Justice Department announced additional indictments in the ongoing antitrust probe of the broiler chicken market
The Justice Department announced additional indictments in the ongoing antitrust probe of the broiler chicken market

US authorities announced indictments Wednesday against the former chief executive of Pilgrim's Pride and five other meat industry officials in an ongoing antitrust probe of the broiler chicken market.

William Lovette, CEO of Colorado-based Pilgrim's Pride from 2011 through 2019, and the co-conspirators were  charged with colluding to fix prices of chicken sold to consumers, according to a Justice Department indictment.

Broiler chickens are raised for human consumption and sold to grocers and restaurants.

"The division will not tolerate collusion that inflates prices American shoppers and diners pay for food," said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim. 

"Executives who choose collusion over competition will be held to account for schemes that cheat consumers and corrupt our competitive markets."

The Justice Department also brought new charges against four executives and employees previously indicted in the case. 

An indictment against the 10 men list cites conversations over a conspiracy from at least 2012 until at least early 2019, the Justice Department said.

Publicly-traded Pilgrim's Pride had $11.4 billion in sales in 2019 and 58,500 employees worldwide, including 31,900 in the United States. Lovette retired as CEO in March 2019.

jmb/hs