Tyson settles consumer class-action suit for $5M

by Bryan Salvage
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BALTIMORE, MD. – A company spokesman confirmed that Tyson Foods Inc. has settled a consumer class-action over its now-suspended chicken “Raised Without Antibiotics” advertising campaign. Filed on the night of Jan. 12 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, the settlement agreement indicates some consumers could receive as much as $50 each. The cost to Tyson is $5 million, with $600,000 set aside to cover administrative costs.

“We’re pleased a settlement has been reached and we will now wait for the court to review and we hope approve the agreement, “Gary Mickelson, Tyson spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to MEATPOULTRY.com. “Our ‘Raised Without Antibiotics’ chicken initiative, which we started in 2007, was suspended in 2008 due to labeling challenges. While we believe our company acted appropriately, we also believe it makes sense for us to resolve this legal matter and move on.”

Approximately $4.4 million will be made available for distribution to plaintiffs of the class-action lawsuit. This total includes up to $20,000 in incentive awards to four named plaintiffs and four more class members who were deposed in the case last year.

Judge Richard D. Bennett is scheduled to conduct a preliminary fairness hearing on the case on Jan. 15.
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