Tyson Foods, Perdue, other poultry companies being probed over price-fixing claims

Tyson Foods Inc. and other big poultry companies are facing some potential legal trouble.

The U.S. government launched an investigation into the biggest poultry companies in the U.S. on allegations that they conspired to fix poultry prices between 2008 and 2016. The probe began after the Justice Department requested a temporary halt to discovery proceedings in a 2016 class-action lawsuit filed by food service distributor Maplevale Farms.

The companies — which include Tyson, Perdue Farms Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride and others — were accused by Maplevale Farms of sharing information through a third-party data firm and tightening supply by destroying breeder hens on several occasions.

The government asked the U.S. District Court in Chicago for a six-month delay to protect an ongoing grand jury investigation. A federal judge is scheduled to rule on the request Thursday.

Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride's shares were down during premarket trading on Wednesday following the news on Tuesday.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSN TYSON FOODS INC. 50.11 -1.16 -2.26%
PPC PILGRIMS PRIDE 22.58 -0.26 -1.14%

This isn’t the first lawsuit filed against the poultry companies. Grocers — which include Kroger and Walmart — along with restaurant chains such as Hooters and other establishments and firms have previously sued the companies.


The Justice Department has also been investigating price-fixing in the canned tuna fish industry. In October, StarKist announced it would plead guilty to fixing prices in the U.S. between 2011 and 2013.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.