Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation this week pleaded guilty to price-fixing allegations. The Department of Justice announced the plea, and a sentence to pay approximately $107 million in criminal fines. According to the plea agreement entered in the U.S. District Court in Denver, from as early as 2012 and continuing at least into 2017, Pilgrim’s participated in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition for sales of broiler chicken products in the U.S. that affected at least $361 million in Pilgrim’s sales of broiler chicken products.
Pilgrim’s is the first company to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products. Broiler chickens are chickens raised for human consumption and sold to grocers and restaurants. Ten executives and employees at major broiler chicken producers have also previously been charged. The case results from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price-fixing, bid-rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the broiler chicken industry.