Chocolate Makers Face Sticky Probe

US and Canada investigate possible price-fixing
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2007 5:25 PM CST
Stacks of different types of large Hershey's chocolate bars are seen on a shelf in a downtown Pittsburgh candy store on Thursday, April 19, 2007. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Following a similar investigation in Canada last month, the Justice Department has launched a probe into possible price-fixing in the US chocolate industry. The suspects form a rich, creamy lineup: M&M maker Mars acknowledged it has been contacted by the DOJ, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nestle, too, says it is aware of the investigation but has not yet been contacted. Other makers declined comment.

Canadian authorities, meanwhile, are looking into the Canadian divisions of Hershey, Cadbury, Mars, and Nestle. Recent increases in dairy costs have driven up the price of sweets, a source of consternation for major chocolatiers. The scope of the investigation remains unclear, and whether it turns into a criminal investigation depends on what dark, milky secrets it uncovers.