Poultry Executives Not Guilty of Price-Fixing

Chicken, Rooster

Five executives in the poultry industry were found not guilty of a price-fixing conspiracy between 2012 and 2019. The Denver Post says the verdict is a defeat for prosecutors and happened after two mistrials. Jurors acquitted the current and former CEOs of Pilgrim’s Pride, a former Pilgrim’s Pride vice president, and the president and vice president of Claxton Poultry. Criminal trials of industry executives are unusual. The three trials happened as rising meat prices added fuel to soaring inflation. The Department of Justice hoped to succeed in the third trial by narrowing the defendants in previous cases from 10 to five in the third attempt. “Although we are disappointed in the verdict, we will continue to vigorously enforce the antitrust laws, especially when it comes to price-fixing schemes affecting food,” the DOJ says in a statement. A lawyer for one of the defendants says the case “should never have been brought.”