Pork giant Smithfield Foods agreed to pay $75 million to settle the latest price-fixing case, involving millions of indirect consumer purchasers, according to a motion filed in Minnesota federal court Tuesday.
It follows the pork producer’s $83 million settlement with direct purchasers in 2021, and a $42 million agreement with restaurant owners and caterers earlier this year. Smithfield has not admitted to any wrongdoing.
The settlement comes in addition to the $20 million settlement reached by meat giant JBS earlier this month, which was also a settlement to consumers.
The case dates back to 2018 when various plaintiffs brought a class-action lawsuit against several pork producers, alleging they colluded to drive up the price of products like ham and bacon. The lawsuit claimed they did this by coordinating output, limiting production and exchanging private information on price, capacity, sales volume and demand with the help of Agri Stats, Inc., an agricultural research company.
Seven other pork producers have not agreed to settlements, such as Tyson Foods and Hormel. The court said the Smithfield and JBS settlements will “bolster” consumer claims against the non-settling defendants.
The settlement group currently contains 17.6 million indirect consumer purchasers — who purchased pork products from a reseller like a grocery store or club store — a number the court said will increase if it receives consumer information from Costco and Sam’s Club.
Consumers will each be notified via email that they are eligible for compensation from the settlement, which they can file a claim for on the website overchargedforpork.com. The purchaser information was obtained by the court through subpoenas to grocery stores, the motion said.