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Federal jury verdict means egg producers must pay $17.7M for conspiring to limit egg supply

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  • Staff Report 

A federal jury in Illinois has delivered a decisive verdict against major egg producers, ordering them to pay $17.7 million in damages, which triples to more than $53 million under federal antitrust law, for a conspiracy to limit egg supply in the U.S. during the 2000s.

The jury found that the egg suppliers, including Cal-Maine Foods, United Egg Producers, United States Egg Marketers, and Rose Acre Farms, engaged in practices to restrict the domestic supply of eggs, thereby inflating prices between 2004 and 2008. This ruling came from the Northern District of Illinois last Friday.

Food manufacturing giants such as Kraft Foods Global, The Kellogg Company, General Mills, and Nestle USA were plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The jury’s decision, which was based on tactics used by egg suppliers to reduce the number of chickens and export eggs abroad, was praised by Brandon Fox, an attorney representing the manufacturers. Rose Acre Farms, one of the defendants and the second-largest egg producer in the U.S., along with Cal-Maine Foods, expressed disagreement with the verdict and intentions to seek legal recourse, including potential appeals.

Complicating the matter, John Rust, former Chair of Rose Acre Farms and a current U.S. Senate candidate from Indiana, criticized his opponent, U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, in the aftermath of the ruling. Rust, who is also involved in a lawsuit against Indiana’s Secretary of State over eligibility criteria for primary candidacy, faces challenges in his Senate run, including endorsements for Banks from the Indiana Republican Party and former President Donald Trump. Rust’s legal and political battles have garnered attention as he asserts his stance against what he perceives as anti-agricultural policies.

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