Wholesaler, Stores Sue Egg Industry

Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., Four B Corp., Cosentino Group Inc., Cosentino Enterprises Inc., Mid Am Food Enterprises Inc. and CNW Foods Inc. are the latest to file suit against egg producers and egg industry trade groups for alleged anticompetitive conduct resulting in the artificial inflation of egg prices.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants reduced and constrained the supply of eggs in order to artificially inflate the price of eggs. These coordinated efforts, which was enforced by powerful industry trade groups, decreased the supply of eggs in the United States and dramatically increased the prices of egg products, the lawsuit alleges.

The plaintiffs further allege the defendants reduced the overall number of hens, increased egg exports and decreased hens’ lifecycles to reduce the domestic egg supply, leading to an unprecedented increase in egg prices and windfall profits for the egg industry.

Defendants include the associations United Egg Producers, United Egg Association, United States Egg Marketers and the Missouri Egg Council Inc.; and several producers including Land O’Lakes Inc., Michael Foods Inc. and Rose Acre Farms Inc.

Kansas City-based law firm Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP represents the plaintiffs. “Defendants’ coordination dramatically decreased the number of eggs produced in this country, which directly resulted in consumers paying significantly higher prices for eggs,” said Patrick Stueve, attorney handling the case.

This latest action follows similar lawsuits filed late last year in Pennsylvania by Kroger, Safeway, Giant Eagle and other retailers.

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