How Tyson Foods Is Responding To Their Price Gouging Lawsuit

The business practices of the meat industry have been under close examination recently. Meat products have seen some of the largest and most resilient price increases in the last two years, and a series of complaints and litigations have followed to ensure that corporate greed is not to blame.

Per The Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the most high-profile moves against meat producers came from the White House when President Joe Biden made a point to call out meat producers during his March 2022 State of the Union address. Reuters reports that Biden unveiled a larger plan to reform much of the meat industry back in January. Poultry producers were also sued by the Department of Justice, and quickly settled out of court, for allegedly creating an anti-competitive environment for laborers in the industry, as the Associated Press reports. The three major producers — responsible for 90% of the country's poultry production (via The Chicago Tribune) –  reached a restitution settlement of $84 million, according to Bloomberg Law. A similar lawsuit was brought against pork producers for allegedly sharing information to fix prices, (via the Associated Press).

Tyson Foods is now refusing to cooperate with the investigation

In one of the latest cases brought against meat producers, Tyson Foods is refusing to cooperate with a subpoena issued by the New York state Attorney General, according to reports from Bloomberg.

New York Attorney General Letitia James launched a Rulemaking Process to "combat illegal price gouging and corporate greed" back in March. Reuters reports that, as a part of this process, a subpoena was issued to meat and poultry mega-producer Tyson Foods requesting it turn over materials such as contractual terms, prices, and profit margins regarding its sales of meat to New York retailers between December 2019 to April 2022.

The Springdale Arkansas-based company has now refused to cooperate with this subpoena after turning over limited material, according to James. Bloomberg notes that Tyson's refusal is apparently based on the argument that New York price gouging laws do not apply to meat products imported into the state. James says that it is impossible to determine this to be relevant to Tyson's case without reviewing the requested materials first. According to Reuters, Tyson Foods is responsible for roughly one-fifth of the nation's poultry, beef, and pork market. James says that her office has received hundreds of complaints about price gouging for meat products.