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2 more lawsuits accuse chicken producers of fixing prices

A Tyson Foods, Inc., sign marks the entrance to the company's headquarters

Tyson Foods, Cargill, JBS and National Beef Packing Co. were named in a federal lawsuit for allegedly conspiring to lower livestock prices, squeezing ranchers and hurting traders who deal in cattle futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. | AP file photo

OMAHA, Neb. — Two major food distributors have filed their own federal lawsuits accusing Tyson Foods and other major chicken producers of fixing prices, but the industry denies any wrongdoing.

The lawsuits filed this week in Illinois by Sysco Corp and US Foods Holding Corp. join several other lawsuits pending against the chicken producers. The allegations date back at least to a 2016 lawsuit filed by New York-based Maplevale Farms.

The lawsuits accuse chicken producers of working together to reduce the supply of chickens and also coordinating efforts to set the retail price for them between 2008 and 2016.

Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson says Tyson plans to continue defending its actions. He says the Springdale, Arkansas-based company believes the claims are unfounded.

Representatives of Pilgrim’s Pride and Sanderson Farms didn’t respond immediately Thursday.