Smithfield Foods has agreed to pay $75 million to settle a price-fixing lawsuit.  Reuters said consumers accused the meat producer and several competitors of conspiring to inflate prices in the U.S. pork market by limiting supply.


Smithfield spokesman Jim Monroe said the company denied liability in settling, and that the accord reduces the distraction, risk, and cost of protracted litigation.  “The agreement also limits a substantial portion of Smithfield’s remaining liability in the nationwide case,” he noted.


In other litigation, Smithfield previously reached settlements worth $83 million with direct purchasers and $42 million with commercial purchasers, including restaurants.  Some of the other defendants include Hormel Foods, Tyson Foods, and data provider Agri Stats, Inc. 


Smithfield agreed to provide cooperation that the plaintiffs’ lawyers say will strengthen their cases against the remaining defendants.  Smithfield is based in Virginia and owned by Hong Kong-listed WH Group, which calls itself the world’s largest pork company.


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