U.S. chicken producer charged with price-fixing

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Claxton Poultry Farms has been indicted in Colorado on charges of price-fixing broiler chickens produced for sale to restaurants and grocery stores, the U.S. Justice Department said May 20.

The company’s president, Mikell Fries, and vice-president, Scott Brady, were previously indicted for their roles in a nationwide conspiracy to fix chicken prices from 2012 to 2019.

If found guilty, Claxton could be fined US$100 million, or twice what it gained from participating in the price-fixing.

Claxton, which is based in Georgia, sells 300 million pounds of chicken annually to 750 customers, including major chains, according to its website.

In February, Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the largest U.S. poultry producers, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay US$107.9 million to settle federal charges that it conspired to fix chicken prices and passed on the costs to consumers and other purchasers. It is owned mainly by Brazilian meat packer JBS.

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