US: Meat processor Smithfield Foods to pay nearly $83 million to settle antitrust claims

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Smithfield Foods Inc, one of the US’ top meat processors, will pay about $83 million to settle litigation that held several companies responsible of conspiring to restrict supply in the American pork market to inflate prices as well as their own profits.

The settlement with the company sorts out antitrust claims by “direct” purchasers like Maplevale Farms that accused the pork companies of having fixed prices.

The settlement eliminates a “substantial portion” of the company’s exposure in the litigation, said Keira Lombardo, Smithfield’s chief administrative officer.

For the unversed, the company that was sold in 2013 to a Chinese meat processor for $4.7 billion, sells packaged products under its own name as well as other famous brands, including Cook’s and Farmland.

Earlier this year, Smithfield – one of the world’s largest pork producers – also unveiled a management shakeup in order to deal with the ripple effects of the COVID-19-led fall in restaurant meat consumption.