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Top Peanut Shellers Must Face Proposed Antitrust Class Action

May 15, 2020, 5:46 PM

An Archer Daniels Midland Co. subsidiary and another top U.S. peanut sheller can’t dodge a proposed class action claiming they colluded to drive down the price of unprocessed nuts, known as “runners,” a Virginia federal judge ruled.

Although none of the lawsuit’s individual allegations is sufficient “when considered in isolation, the totality of the factual assertions within the complaint give rise to the plausible inference of a price-fixing conspiracy,” Judge Raymond A. Jackson wrote Thursday.

The antitrust suit targets Birdsong Corp. and ADM-owned Golden Peanut Co., which together control 90% of the shelling industry. It was filed by peanut farmers ...