Oct 26, 2021 - Economy

Washington state sues chicken producers alleging conspiracy to inflate prices

A Tyson plant

A Tyson Foods plant in Lexington, Neb. Photo: Dan Brouillette/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The state of Washington is suing 19 chicken producers, accusing them of "a wide-ranging illegal conspiracy to inflate and manipulate prices, rig contract bids and coordinate industry supply reductions," Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The companies named in the suit account for some 95% of broiler chickens sold in the U.S., per a news release. Broiler chickens are bred and raised specifically for meat production.

  • Companies named in the suit include giants like Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms and Koch Foods.

Details: The lawsuit accuses the companies of coordinating together and reducing production in 2008 and 2009, the suit claims. They eventually produced more chicken in 2010, but agreed to reduce production again in 2011 after prices dropped.

  • The actions led to "significant production cuts and higher prices," the news release states.

What they're saying: “This conspiracy cost middle-class and low-income Washington families more money to put food on their table," Ferguson said. "I will hold these companies accountable for the profits they illegally made off the backs of hardworking Washington families."

  • Representatives for Tyson Foods and Koch Foods did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
  • A spokesperson for Perdue Farms declined to comment citing the pending litigation.
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