The Department of Justice intervened Friday in a landmark price-fixing suit against the country’s biggest poultry companies, possibly signaling that its own grand jury investigation into the chicken sector could result in criminal indictments. The DOJ asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to stop discovery in the class-action lawsuit brought by food distributor Maplevale Farm, saying in its motion that “a limited stay is needed to protect the grand jury’s investigation.”
In recent years, agribusiness groups have fought legislation that would require large-scale livestock farms to report what pollutants they discharge into the air. But this week, a Maryland poultry industry group announced a partnership with the state’s environmental regulators to monitor those emissions. (No paywall)
To cut antibiotics use in poultry production, large-scale producers are turning to slower-growing heritage chicken breeds, reports Maryn McKenna, in FERN's latest story with EatingWell magazine. It marks a reversal of the recent production model, which emphasized fast-growing birds.
Chicken is America'a favorite meat, with per capita consumption approaching 110 pounds per person this year, roughly twice as much as beef. Five CDC scientists who analyzed U.S. outbreaks of food-borne illness in recent years say chicken caused the largest number of illnesses when outbreaks were ranked by food category.
Members of the House Small Business Committee convened for a hearing Wednesday to discuss the findings of a recent report by the Office of the Inspector General on lending to poultry farmers.
In a report released on March 6, the Office of the Inspector General found that some poultry farmers who had received SBA loans were actually ineligible, because poultry companies “exercised such comprehensive control over the growers” that farmers were not, in fact, operating as independent small business owners. (No paywall)
The biggest poultry processors in the United States face widespread allegations that they colluded to raise prices over the course of 10 years in the $30-billion broiler chicken market. In just three weeks, two grocery retailers and the country’s two biggest food distribution companies filed lawsuits against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Farms, Sanderson Farms, and others. (No paywall)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Koch Foods for multiple serious violations at one of its poultry processing plants. The fines total more than $208,000.
In separate lawsuits filed late Tuesday, food distributors Sysco and US Foods alleged that some of the biggest chicken processors in the country colluded to raise chicken prices. The lawsuits target Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Meat Co., Sanderson Farms, Perdue Foods, and others.