Processing Magazine

Land O''Lakes Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Egg Price-fixing Case

June 9, 2010
One of more than ten egg producers that a group of restaurants and food processing companies claims conspired to fix egg prices nationwide has agreed to a $25 million settlement, according to a court filing reported by the Associated Press. The restaurants and processors claim egg prices skyrocketed between 2004 and 2008 because industry officials conspired to reduce production -- not because feed costs rose, as egg industry leaders said. The restaurants'' and processors'' lawsuit against the egg producers was filed in 2008 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, and the court still must approve the settlement. Land O''Lakes, its egg-producing subsidiary Moark and Moark''s Norco Ranch Inc., are participating in the settlement. Claims remain active against more than 10 of the biggest producers in the egg industry, including Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Michael Foods Inc. and Rose Acre Farms Inc. The lawsuit alleges that egg producers reduced supply in a number of ways, such as cutting the number of hens at laying farms and delaying or reducing chick hatching, in order to raise prices.