By Michael Hirtzer
Tyson Foods Inc., America’s biggest meat company, is paying $221.5 million to settle complaints over price-fixing allegations.
The Springdale, Arkansas-based company said it reached an agreement to settle all class claims related to broiler chicken litigation, without admitting liability, according to a Wednesday regulatory filing. It follows Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.’s settlement of $75 million announced earlier this month.
The U.S. chicken industry, a $95 billion retail market, has been embroiled in litigation for years. Chicken buyers claim that many of America’s top producers illegally propped up prices and constricted poultry production for years. Tyson disclosed in June that it was cooperating in a U.S. criminal probe that stemmed from the initial civil allegations.
Meat companies have also been in the spotlight after thousands of workers at slaughter plants were infected with the COVID-19 virus last year. Prices skyrocketed when plants shut down to slow outbreaks, even as prices for animals such as cattle and hogs fell.