McDonald’s Takes Pork Processors to Court

Dec. 1, 2022
Price-fixing charges are a reprise of what defendants have been dealing with for years.

McDonald’s Corp. is the latest major restaurant company to take major pork processors to court over allegations of price fixing.

The lawsuit, against JBS USA, Tyson Foods, Hormel Foods, Smithfield Foods and others, charges that the defendants conspired to keep prices high for bacon, sausage and other pork products on the McDonald’s menu. This allegedly occurred between 2009 and 2017, with the help of Agri Stats, a data service that is also a defendant in the lawsuit.

“The type of information available in these [Agri Stats] reports is not the type of information that competitors would provide each other in a normal, competitive market,” the complaint states. “Instead, the provision of this detailed information acts as the modern equivalent of the proverbial smoke-filled room.”

If the charges sound familiar, it’s because similar lawsuits litigating the same set of facts have been brought repeatedly against major protein processing companies. JBS and Smithfield were among companies that settled a previous such lawsuit, but McDonald’s is opting for a separate trial.

About the Author

Pan Demetrakakes | Senior Editor

Pan has written about the food and beverage industry for more than 25 years. His areas of coverage have included formulations, processing, packaging, marketing and retailing. Pan worked for Food Processing Magazine for six years in the 1990s, where he was operations editor (his current role), touring dozens of food plants of every description. He has also worked for Packaging and Food & Beverage Packaging magazines, the latter as chief editor, during which he won three ASBPE awards. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a BA in communications.

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