Hormel, Tyson Accused of Inflating Pork Prices in Lawsuit

(Bloomberg) -- Hormel Foods Corp., Tyson Foods Inc. and other meat packers are accused in a class-action lawsuit of artificially jacking up the price of hot dogs, bacon and other pork products with the help of info-sharing service Agri Stats.

The meat packers allegedly conspired with the service to exchange “detailed, competitively sensitive, and closely guarded non-public information,” according to the complaint, filed by pork buyers Thursday in federal court in Minnesota.

The buyers claim the scheme boosted prices by more than 50 percent. The hog market “year average price” increased to $76.30 in 2015, after being at or below $50 annually from 1998 to 2009, according to the complaint.

Hormel Foods denied the allegations.

“Hormel Foods is a 127-year-old global branded food company with a reputation as one of the most respected companies in the food industry,” the company said in a statement. “We are confident that any allegations such as these are completely without merit. We intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit.”

A spokesman for Tyson said the company hasn’t received formal notice of the lawsuit and can’t comment.

The case is Duryea v. Agri Stats Inc., 18-cv-01776, U.S. District Court, U.S. District of Minnesota (Minneapolis).

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