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Sodexo drops lawsuit against United Egg Producers, farmers

March 1, 2011 | 11:41 am

ChickenEgg Food service giant Sodexo Inc. has dropped its lawsuit  against the nation’s largest egg trade group and some leading egg farmers.

The civil complaint, which had been filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia in January, alleged that the United Egg Producers trade group and five companies conspired to limit domestic egg supply when they killed off laying hens under the guise of treating the remaining animals more humanely by giving them more cage room. Sodexo alleged that the scheme resulted in an increase of as much as 40% in wholesale egg prices in 2008.

But last month a Maryland-based unit of the French company filed a motion with the court to voluntarily dismiss its case against UEP, Cal-Maine Foods, Michael Foods, Hillandale Farms, Ohio Fresh Eggs, National Food Corp. and Rose Acre Farms.

Sodexo did not elaborate in court documents about why it wanted to drop the case. In a statement, the firm said, “Upon review of information further provided by Michael Foods, it was determined that they adhered to the terms of the contract. Therefore, the matter was dismissed.”

Sodexo bought more than $250 million in eggs and egg products from the defendants from 2002 to 2010, according to the filing.

-- P.J. Huffstutter

Photo: Which came first? Credit: Ina Fassbender / Reuters