A class action lawsuit is accusing Hormel, Tyson Foods, and other meatpacking companies of artificially raising the price of hot dogs, bacon, and other pork products with the help of a company called Agri Stats, an info-sharing service. A Bloomberg report says the complaint was filed by a group of meat buyers in a Minnesota court on Thursday.
The complaint accuses the meat packers of conspiring with the service to exchange “detailed, competitively sensitive, and closely-guarded non-public information.” The buyers claim that the scheme boosted prices by more than 50 percent. The “year-average” price in the hog market was $76.30 in 2015, after being at or below $50 annually from 1998-2009.
Hormel Foods issues a statement saying, “Hormel Foods is a 127-year-old global branded food company with a reputation as one of the most respected companies in the food industry. We are confident that these allegations are completely without merit and intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit.” A Tyson spokesman says they haven’t seen a copy of the lawsuit so they’re unable to comment on it.
WASHINGTON – Today National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Director of Government Affairs Danielle Beck issued the following statement in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that they will hold a public meeting on foods produced using animal cell culture technology:
“NCBA looks forward to participating fully in the public meeting, and will use the opportunity to advocate for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversight of lab-grown fake meat products. The Food and Drug Administration’s announcement disregards the authorities granted to USDA under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, as well as USDA’s significant scientific expertise and long-standing success in ensuring the safety of all meat and poultry products. Under the current regulatory framework, FDA plays an important role in terms of ensuring the safety of food additives used in meat, poultry, and egg products. All additives are initially evaluated for safety by FDA, but ultimately FSIS maintains primary jurisdiction.”
According to the FDA, the public meeting is intended to provide interested parties and the public with an opportunity to comment on emerging lab-grown protein technology. The public meeting is not a formal decision and will not prevent USDA from asserting primary jurisdiction.
USDA oversight of lab-grown protein products is consistent with existing federal laws. Lab-grown protein products fall within statutory definitions of a meat byproduct. USDA is responsible for ensuring the safety and proper labeling of all such products under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).