More on price-fixing ruling against poultry executives

Pilgrim's Chicken

Last week federal prosecutors indicted Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Jayson Penn and three other executives for fixing prices on broiler chickens. Penn, who took over the JBS subsidiary in 2019 is planning to contest the charges and pleaded not guilty in a Colorado federal court Thursday.

A former Pilgrim’s Pride vice president and an executive at Georgia’s Claxton Poultry Farms also pleaded not guilty.

During the court hearing, DOJ lawyers said Pilgrim’s Pride conspired with six other companies to rig bids on broiler chickens sold to eight major buyers, including grocery chains and restaurants. Federal attorneys didn’t disclose the names of any of the companies suspected of price-fixing, but Tyson Foods, Sanderson Farms and Perdue Farms all acknowledged receiving subpoenas last year as part of the criminal probe.

Kraft Heinz, Kroger, Walmart, Sysco and U.S. Foods are among those who have filed civil antitrust suits against the top chicken producers for allegedly conspiring to fix broiler chicken prices. Those cases remain ongoing.