A jury in Illinois last week ruled that several US egg producers conspired to limit the supply of eggs between 2004 and 2008 to keep prices high in a federal lawsuit that was originally filed in 2011, the Associated Press reported.
The 2011 lawsuit was originally brought by several major US food manufacturing companies, including The Kellogg Company and Kraft Global Foods, Inc. It alleged that egg producers had used various methods to limit the domestic supply to increase the price of eggs and egg products in the 2000s.
Throughout the case, the decade-long timeframe was an issue, with the jury ultimately determining damages for the four years starting in 2004 in its unanimous verdict in the US District Court of the North District of Illinois.
Damages will be decided this week.
The egg suppliers, including the family company of an Indiana Republican Senate candidate challenging Rep. Jim Banks in the 2024 GOP primary, denied the claims.
The jury determined that the suppliers exported eggs to reduce the domestic supply and limited the number of egg-producing chickens through several means, including early slaughter, flock reduction, and cage space.
Other food manufacturers later joined as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including Nestle USA and General Mills, Inc.
The jury found that the suppliers who participated in the price-fixing conspiracy were Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., Rose Acre Farms, Inc., United Egg Producers, Inc., and United States Egg Marketers.
The Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms Inc. was previously chaired by John Rust who is running for the Senate in 2024.
Currently, Rust is suing the Indiana Secretary of State over a state law that would prevent him from getting on the Republican primary ballot. The law requires that a candidate running for a particular party’s nomination must have voted in two state primaries with that party or have their candidacy approved by the party’s county chair.