Following a subpoena by New York State’s Attorney General regarding the price-fixing of meat products, Tyson Foods is refusing to cooperate. The rulemaking process was launched to address alleged price gouging by the industry giant back in March. Requested from Tyson were contractual terms, prices, and profit margins on meat sales between December 2019 and April 2022 to New York retailers.
According to Bloomberg, Attorney General Letitia James announced in a court filing on Wednesday that she was seeking special court proceedings to force the company to turn over its information. Tyson refuses to turn over further documentation, saying that New York’s price gouging laws do not apply to the products they’re importing from another state.
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While all food products, especially meat products, have seen the effects of inflation between November 2020 and November 2021, the New York filing cites notable price increases. Beef jumped 20.9 percent, pork increased 16.8 percent, and chicken increased 9.2 percent.
In the filing, James said, “Not only is price gouging illegal, but excessive prices for meat products have an especially devastating impact on the poorest New Yorkers.”
Meatpacking giants have been under increased scrutiny as President Joe Biden unveiled plans to overhaul the packing industry in July. Four countries control as much as 85 percent of the country’s meat supplies. According to Reuters, Tyson Foods is responsible for one-fifth of U.S. poultry, beef, and pork products. In December 2021, the White House released a press statement sharing that gross margins were up 50 percent and net margins were up 300 percent for the companies, despite their claims that increased prices were due to labor and supply costs.
The Biden Administration announced its dedication to cracking down on illegal price fixing and enforcing antitrust laws. Earlier this year, Smithfield Foods settled a pork price-fixing lawsuit for $42 million, and Sysco Foods sued Tyson Foods, JBS, Cargill, and National Beef for price-fixing beef products.
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