Feds Dig Into Price-Fixing by Egg, Tomato Processors

New inquiries add to list of investigations
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2008 3:35 PM CDT
A customer looks at milk on display at JJ&F Market in Palo Alto, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – The Justice Department is investigating allegations of price-fixing by tomato and egg processors, the Wall Street Journal reports today. California processor SK Foods is facing allegations it bribed buyers at six companies to pay inflated prices for tomato paste and chili peppers. Tomato prices have surged 16% over the past year, while overall food prices have risen only 6%.

Separately, grand-jury subpoenas have gone out to the three largest US egg processors to probe the pricing of powdered and liquid eggs. The investigations into tomato and egg products join current federal inquiries, not previously reported, into price-fixing in the fertilizer, cheese, milk and citrus fruit industries.