US regulators charge food giants Kraft, Mondelez with manipulation of wheat prices

Markets Associated Press

Federal regulators have charged two major U.S. food companies, Kraft and Mondelez, with manipulating prices for wheat and wheat futures in a scheme that reaped more than $5.4 million in profit.

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The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced the civil charges Wednesday against the two companies. The agency said the companies used "manipulative trading strategies" in December 2011 to artificially lower wheat prices on the spot market.

The CFTC also said Kraft Food Groups Inc. and Mondelez Global LLC violated rules limiting the volume of futures contracts in wheat that financial investors can trade on exchanges.

Kraft, based in Northfield, Illinois, makes Oscar Meyer cold cuts, Jell-O pudding and Velveeta cheese. Oreo, Cadbury and Trident are among Mondelez's brands.

Mondelez and Kraft had been one company. They split in 2012.