SEC declines to act against Tyson Foods

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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The SEC will not take enforcement action against Tyson Foods for alleged price fixing.
 
SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Tyson Foods Inc. is no longer on the hook by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for accusations of price fixing of broiler chickens.

In a statement, Tyson said the company had received a letter dated Aug. 22 concerning previously announced investigation into Tyson relating to antitrust allegations. “The letter stated that the SEC staff has concluded its investigation and that, based on the information it has as of that date, it does not intend to recommend an enforcement action by the SEC against Tyson,” the company said.

On Jan. 20, 2017, the SEC served Tyson with a subpoena regarding alleged price fixing of broiler chickens. An antitrust lawsuit was filed by Maplevale Farms, a food distributor, alleging that the companies named, including Tyson Foods, conspired to “fix, raise, maintain and stabilize,” prices for broiler chickens.

During a call with the media in early February of this year, Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson, said that pricing had never been a major issue among the company’s customers and that most of them had been partners for many years. Hayes said that their business shows how they feel about pricing and Tyson’s chicken programs.

On March 1, the company also received a civil investigative demand from the Office of the Attorney General, Dept. of Legal Affairs of the state of Florida. At the time, Tyson explained that that state attorneys general investigate antitrust allegations made in civil cases where damages are sought on behalf of consumers within their states.

“The Florida Attorney General’s office has opened such an investigation by serving a request for documents upon several of the poultry companies named in the antitrust cases pending in federal court in Chicago,” the company said in a statement. “Tyson was included in the group of defendants in that case that received a request for documents. We continue to believe the antitrust claims that prompted the Florida AG to open this investigation are without merit but we are cooperating with the Florida AG’s investigation.”

Earlier this month, Fieldale Farms Corp. proposed a settlement — which was filed against 14 broiler producers — that would require Fieldale to pay $2.25 million in cash and provide material cooperation in the litigation, according to court documents.

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