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HomeBusinessThe top egg producers and two industry groups must pay $17.7 million...

The top egg producers and two industry groups must pay $17.7 million in damages to Kraft, Kellogg, Nestle, and General Mills for leading a price-fixing conspiracy

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

A jury’s decision to pay four food businesses $17.7 in damages on Friday marked the tentative end of a 12-year-old federal antitrust case against the biggest egg producers in the country.

A unanimous jury found that between 2004 and 2008, a number of significant egg producers colluded to manipulate the commodity’s price. Giants in the food industry, including Kraft Heinz and Nestlé, won a significant triumph with the decision made last week.

A number of food giants, including Nestlé, Kraft, General Mills, and Kellogg, claimed in the first lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Illinois in 2011 that egg producers Cal-Maine Foods and Rose Acre Farms, along with trade associations United Egg Producers and U.S. Egg Marketers, had colluded to artificially limit the supply of hens and kill them earlier than usual between 1998 and 2008.

The same jury ruled in the previous liability trial, which ended on Nov. 21, that American egg producers such as Rose Acre Farms and Cal-Maine Foods had colluded for years to artificially restrict the domestic egg supply, which in turn drove up egg prices.

Kraft took home approximately $12.8 million, Kellogg’s approximately $3.2 million, General Mills approximately $914,000, and Nestle approximately $809,000.

According to lawyer Brandon Fox, who acted on behalf of the food companies in the case, “the defendants have been held liable for their antitrust violations for the first time” (Associated Press).

The biggest egg producer in the United States, Cal-Maine Foods, stated in a statement that it improved hen welfare 20 years ago and never intended to restrict supply or affect egg prices. The business asserted that it had successfully demonstrated that the conspiracy’s duration was not 10 years, as the original lawsuit had stated.

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