Chick-fil-A alleges rampant price-fixing in the chicken industry, and it's suing 17 top chicken suppliers including Tyson and Perdue (TSN)

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Chick-fil-A is suing 17 top chicken suppliers, alleging they artificially raised prices on billions of dollars of its purchases.

The lawsuit filed Friday names 17 defendants — including Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Sanderson Farms. Chick-fil-A claims that chicken suppliers shared bids and pricing details, leading the Atlanta-based restaurant chain to overpay for supplies.

Chick-fil-A is the largest chicken restaurant in the US known for its fried chicken sandwiches, bests even KFC and Popeye’s in sales, according to industry research firm Technomic

The company is seeking unspecified damages and to recoup its legal expenses.

“We believe these claims are unfounded and plan to contest the merits,” said spokeswoman for Perdue Andrea Staub.

Representatives for Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride and Sanderson Farms did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The US Department of Justice has indicted 10 poultry industry executives in separate cases this year and several suppliers have faced lawsuits alleging conspiracy to inflate broiler chicken prices from grocers, retailers and consumers. Broiler chickens account for most chicken meat sold in the United States.

In October, Pilgrim’s Pride, which is mostly owned by Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to limit competition in chicken product sales and paid a $110.5 million fine.

(Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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