If you've bought chicken in the last 10 years, it just might be payback time! As part of a class action settlement for $181 million dollars, consumers may be eligible to receive cash back due to a scheme among some poultry companies that was really for the birds.
NBC News Chicago reported that prosecutors in the Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation lawsuit alleged that several companies conspired to stabilize the price and supply of chicken in violation of state and federal consumer antitrust laws.
If you purchased chicken from Jan. 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2020 from Fieldale Farms Corporation, George’s, Mar-Jac Poultry, Peco Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson Foods you could be eligible to receive payment.
Anyone who purchased a fresh or frozen raw chicken or whole, cut-up birds within a package or white meat parts could have a claim, said the lawsuit. Meat marketed as halal, kosher, free-range or organic is not included in the lawsuit.
If the chicken you purchased was bought in the following states you could qualify: California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.
"Over $180 million in settlements have been reached with the defendants in this litigation," Brent W. Johnson, co-lead counsel with Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC told TODAY Food via email. "This represents significant recovery for consumers who were harmed by the defendants conspiring to raise the price of chicken in grocery stores and other retailers."
Consumers can check their eligibility and file a claim at www.overchargedforchicken.com or by calling (877) 888-5428 by Dec. 31, 2022.
According to a notice authorized by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the prosecuting law firm said the court will hold a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlements on Dec. 20 and this must occur before any money can be paid out. The total possible payout to consumers is still being finalized.
In another settlement, Perdue Farms and Tyson Foods agreed to pay out $35 million following a lawsuit that accused them of fixing prices paid to the farmers who raise chickens, reported AP News. The lawsuit, filed by Alabama farmers, claimed that the setup caused them to go deep into debt as they tried to build and maintain chicken barns that met company standards. Perdue and Tyson agreed to the settlement without admitting any wrongdoing.
"While Perdue Farms denies the allegations of wrongdoing in the complaint and was prepared to vigorously defend against such allegations, the settlement of this lawsuit is in the best interest of our company and our network of dedicated farmers," a spokesperson for Perdue told TODAY in an email.