Top U.S. chicken companies Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride said that Florida's attorney general is investigating whether they conspired to fix chicken prices. Fred Katayama reports.
Florida's attorney general is investigating two top U.S. chicken processors - Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride. She's looking at whether they conspired to fix chicken prices. The probe comes in response to allegations made in civil lawsuits filed last year in federal court in Chicago. Shares of Tyson fell on the news. They got pulled even lower after reporting a drop in quarterly profit. Pilgrim's Pride stock fell as well. Sanderson Farms - the third biggest U.S. poultry producer - received a request for information back in February. Tom Polansek covers the story for Reuters. (SOUNDBITE) TOM POLANSEK, REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride are facing civil lawsuits that accuse them of price fixing. And, if those are successful, it's possible that the chicken companies would have to pay fines to consumers. It's unclear exactly what could happen and, as a result of the Florida attorney general's review of the matter, it's possible that there could be fines in that case as well." The U.S. chicken sector is dominated by a few large companies. It has come under increased scrutiny over the past year as customers and farmers alleged antitrust violations in pricing, production, and compensation.