LAUREL, Miss. — In a Sept. 9 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Sanderson Farms said it was issued a grand jury subpoena by the US Dept. of Justice as one of the plaintiffs for the ongoing price-fixing lawsuit. 

In June, the Justice Dept. launched an investigation into several poultry processors including Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Sanderson Farms regarding possible collusion to fix poultry prices. 

Price-fixing litigation began in Sept. 2016 when Maplevale Farms, a food distributor, filed a lawsuit alleging that Tyson and several other poultry companies named conspired as early as January 2008 to “fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize” prices for broiler chickens.

Additional lawsuits have been filed since including one earlier in 2019 when Kraft Heinz Co., Conagra Brands Inc., Nestle USA Inc. and Nestle Purina Petcare Co. filed a lawsuit in Chicago federal court, claiming Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride. and other poultry processors conspired to inflate chicken prices.

The court documents say that the poultry companies, listed as defendants, engaged in price-fixing from 2008 to 2016.