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AWG sues egg producers, industry trade groups

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A group of grocery store companies, including Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., recently filed a lawsuit against egg producers and egg industry trade groups for anticompetitive conduct resulting in artificially inflated egg prices, according to a news release from Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP, the Kansas City law firm that represents AWG.

AWG operates a Springfield distribution center with 700 workers. Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP also represents the other plaintiffs: Four B Corporation, Cosentino Group Inc., Cosentino Enterprises Inc., Mid Am Food Enterprises Inc. and CNW Foods Inc.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants reduced and constrained the supply of eggs to artificially inflate the price of eggs. These efforts, enforced by industry trade groups, decreased the supply of eggs in the United States and increased the prices of eggs and egg products, forcing plaintiffs to pay higher prices.

Defendants include four egg industry trade groups: United Egg Producers; United Egg Association; United States Egg Marketers; and the Missouri Egg Council Inc.

It also includes individual egg producers: Land O’ Lakes Inc.; Moark Egg Corp., Moark LLC; Norco Ranch Inc.; Michael Foods Inc.; Rose Acre Farms Inc.; National Food Corp., Cal-Maine Foods Inc.; Hillandale Farms Inc.; Hillandale Farms of Pa. Inc.; Hillandale-Gettysburg LP; Hillandale Farms East Inc.; Ohio Fresh Eggs LLC; Daybreak Foods Inc.; Midwest Poultry Services LP; Nucal Foods Inc.; R.W. Sauder Inc. and Sparboe Farms Inc.

The lawsuit also alleges the defendants increased the egg prices by:
  • Agreeing to reduce overall hen population, intended to reduce the egg supply;
  • increasing exports; and
  • intentionally decreasing the life cycle of hens.
Both of the last two points decreased the supply of eggs, the lawsuit alleges.

AWG supplies more than 560 members and operating more than 1,900 independent supermarket operators in 21 states. AWG, including subsidiaries, delivers to 2,259 retail outlets in 23 states through eight distribution centers, according to the release.[[In-content Ad]]

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