US: Beef packers antitrust suit to be consolidated into one

Three lawsuits filed against America’s largest beef packers can be consolidated, a Minnesota federal court ruled last week.

US Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer wrote in a nine-page order the court will oversee three proposed class actions filed by ranchers and industry groups that claim beef packers colluded to suppress prices and violated federal antitrust laws.

In April, R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America) filed suit in Chicago against Tyson Foods, JBS, Cargill, and National Beef Packing Company, and certain of their affiliates alleging that from at least January 1, 2015 through the present, the packers conspired to depress the price of fed cattle they purchased from American ranchers, thereby inflating their own margins and profits.

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