New York State’s Attorney General Letitia James alleged in Tuesday’s lawsuit that during the New York pandemic, one of the country’s largest egg producers illegally inflated prices and charged $4 million per box. The price charged is four times higher.
James claimed that in March and April, Hillandale Farms sold more than 4 million cartons of eggs to grocery stores, US military facilities and food wholesalers. The lawsuit seeks compensation from consumers.
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James said in a prepared press release: “When this pandemic is raging in our country, Hilandler used the hard-working New Yorkers to pay for it.”
Hillandler said in a statement that it is prepared to defend the charges in court. The company stated that the pandemic “has caused tremendous damage in all areas of the economy, including the egg industry.”
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Hillandler said eggs have historically been affected by price fluctuations. “But for decades, our pricing method has been consistent, and we have no complaints, whether it leads to profits or losses, and recent months have been no exception.”
The lawsuit filed in the New York State Court alleges that Hillandale increased the price of eggs sold to Stop & Shop, BJ’s Wholesale Club, related supermarkets, and the commissary at the West Point Military Academy of the United States Military Academy, Fort Hamilton and Fort Drum. In one case, the price per dozen of large white eggs collected by Western beef supermarkets rose from 59 cents to 1.10 US dollars in January to 2.93 US dollars at the end of March.
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The lawsuit stated that prices did not reflect rising costs, but increased consumer demand during the pandemic. James’ office said it has received complaints from retail customers who found the inflated prices “ridiculous” and “shameful”.
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The lawsuit filed claims against Hillandale Farms Corp., Hillandale Farms East, Inc., PA, Inc., Hillandale Farms, Hillandale Farms Conn, LLC, and Hillandale Farms, Inc. in Delaware, and Hillandale-Gettysburg, LP.