North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein joined the United States’ civil antitrust lawsuit against Agri Stats, Inc. for collaborating with chicken, pork, and turkey processors to artificially inflate food prices.
The latest lawsuit against Agri Stats, Inc., alleges that the company would inflate the price of chicken, pork, and turkey through its alleged anticompetitive and illegal practices.
“With people struggling to afford their groceries, it’s unacceptable that Agri Stats would inflate the price of chicken, pork, and turkey through its alleged anticompetitive and unlawful acts,” stated Attorney General Josh Stein in a press release.
“I will always stand up for consumers and do everything I can to lower costs for them. That’s why I am taking Agri Stats to court.”
According to the lawsuit, Agri Stats produced weekly and monthly reports for participating meat processors, which contain non-public information about sales prices, costs, compensation, and output. The processors then used their competitors’ data to set prices and output levels.
Participating processors have accounted for more than 90 percent of broiler chicken sales, 80 percent of pork sales, and 90 percent of turkey sales in the United States, according to a press release from the attorney general’s office.
In addition to tackling artificial inflation, Attorney General Stein has announced that North Carolina’s price gouging law is extended to more of western North Carolina counties.
Since 2018, Attorney General Stein has brought 11 lawsuits against 27 defendants under the state’s price gouging law – totaling $1,080,000 against 25 defendants, including a $274,000 settlement that was the largest price gouging settlement in the department’s history.
“It doesn’t matter the type of crisis – a pandemic, a storm, a gas pipeline shutdown – it’s illegal to try to make a quick buck by taking advantage of North Carolinians’ desperation,” stated Attorney General Josh Stein in a press release last year. “Since I’ve been attorney general, my office has won more than $1 million holding price gougers accountable. Any would-be price gougers should take note: just don’t do it.”