Target Joins Chains Accusing Chicken Makers of Price-Fixing

Target Corp. is the latest retailer to accuse some of America’s top chicken producers of constraining poultry production and manipulating prices, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

The Minneapolis-based company with 1,900 stores is the latest to sue the chicken producers, which have been accused of illegal cooperation from as early as 2008 to at least 2017. It follows earlier suits by supermarket chain Fresh Market, Wawa Inc. convenience stores, refrigerated-meal supplier Bob Evans Farms Inc. and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. restaurants.

Target filed suit against poultry companies including the top three U.S. producers, Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Sanderson Farms Inc., as well as Eli Lilly & Co.’s subsidiary Agri Stats Inc. that maintains pricing data in the meat sector.

“Follow-on complaints like these are common in antitrust litigation,” a spokesman for Tyson said in a statement. “Such complaints do not change our position that the claims are unfounded. We will continue to vigorously defend our company.”

The other companies didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

According to the complaints, the poultry companies were able to utilize Agri Stats’ data to coordinate with one another on pricing and production levels.

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