Senior executives from Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton Poultry Farms, two major US chicken producers, have been indicted for allegedly conspiring to fix prices on “broiler chickens,” which are sold to grocery stores and restaurants.
The court found evidence of fowl play.
Price fixing is when a business colludes with one or more of its competitors to set the price of a product, rather than allowing it to be determined naturally. Antitrust legislation generally makes it illegal for businesses to fix their prices.
Pilgrim’s and Claxton, the producers indicted for price-fixing are suppliers for KFC and Chick-fil-A, respectively. And Pilgrim’s is the second-largest broiler chicken supplier in the country, after Tyson Foods.
“Executives who cheat American consumers, restauranteurs, and grocers, and compromise the integrity of our food supply will be held responsible for their actions,” said Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
Each executive faces one count of price-fixing, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine, which may be raised if losses to victims are found to be higher than $1 million.