Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is suing a number of the biggest chicken suppliers in the country, accusing them of keeping prices artificially high.
The suit names 17 defendants, including Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, and Sanderson Farms.
NBC News says Christopher Leonard, a business reporter who has investigated the poultry industry, points out that the suit means that the “retail side of the chicken industry is at war with the producers. If the chain’s suppliers aren’t following the basic principles of capitalism and competition, Chick-fil-A customers are paying more for a lower-quality product.”
Chick-fil-A announced that it would begin serving antibiotic-free chicken at its restaurants in five years, and the suit alleges shortly after that took place, “a number of the defendants communicated via phone and text message to share and coordinate confidential bidding and pricing information,” details that came to light after a Justice Department investigation of the industry.
The suit accuses chicken producers of using a spreadsheet called AgriStats to engage in bid-rigging in an “unlawful conspiracy” to ensure that chicken prices were artificially raised.