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Pilgrim’s Pride CEO and three others indicted

The CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride reportedly has been charged in a federal grand jury investigation in Colorado for anti-trust practices along with three other chicken industry executives.

The one-count indictment alleges current and former senior executives at Pilgrim’s Pride of Colorado and Claxton Poultry Farms of Georgia fixed prices and rigged bids between 2012 and 2017.

Shares of Pilgrim’s Pride fell 14% today.

The indictments are the first from a DOJ investigation following lawsuits filed by restaurant companies and other poultry buyers starting in 2016 accusing the major poultry producers in the U.S. – Pilgrim’s Pride, Tyson Foods, Sanderson Farms and Perdue Farms – of colluding to inflate prices.

All four companies deny the allegations in the private lawsuits.

Just last month, 11 state attorneys general in the Midwest asked the Justice Department to investigate potential price fixing by U.S. meat producers.

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