A federal judge in a U.S. District Court of Minnesota has consolidated three lawsuits filed against the nation’s beef packing industry into one case entitled “In re Cattle Antitrust Litigation.” Three separate cases filed by Rancher Cattlemen’s Legal Aid Fund (R-CALF) and two other suits each alleged Tyson Foods, JBS, Cargill, Marfrig, National Beef and their competitors conspired to suppress fed cattle prices on livestock they purchased between 2015 and 2019.
The new case keeps the complaint intact and seeks to streamline the judicial process. The complaint states the plaintiffs have “witness accounts, trade records, and economic evidence” to support those claims.
The beef packing industry denies the charges and has said it will defend itself fully, in court. The packer interest group, North American Meat Institute, has said the claims are “unfounded” and they ignore the economics of the marketplace.
Tyson Foods continues to call the suits “baseless.” The meat giant has said there is no merit to the allegations that Tyson colluded with competitors.
“This complaint is nothing more than another transparent and opportunistic attempt by attorneys to make money for themselves at the expense of consumers. … Contrary to the assertions in this lawsuit, Tyson wants its suppliers to succeed. Tyson will vigorously defend itself and its proud heritage of supporting America’s farmers and ranchers,” Tyson Foods said in a previous statement.
Cargill also said the suit lacks merit and the company is confident in its efforts to maintain market integrity and conduct ethical business.