D.O.J. investigating egg, tomato processing industries

by Josh Sosland
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WASHINGTON — Separate investigations into possible anti-competitive practices in the egg industry and the tomato processing industry were confirmed Sept. 23 by a spokesperson for the Department of Justice.

Gina Talamona of the D.O.J. said the investigations were ongoing and declined to offer further details.

In April, KSBW, a Salinas, Calif., television station, said officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service raided SK Foods Group properties, including company headquarters near Fresno, processing facilities outside of Fresno and Sacramento and a home in Pebble Beach.

The Associated Press last week said F.B.I. documents indicate that wiretaps and raids were carried out as part of the investigation into whether Randall Rahal, owner of New Jersey-based Intramark USA Corp., paid bribes to secure business for SK Foods, his client.

The egg investigation also dates back several months. Two egg producers in Minnesota — Michael Foods and Golden Oval Eggs — disclosed in Securities and Exchange Commission filings that they had been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The subpoenas requested documents for the period between Jan. 1, 2002, through March 27, 2008, relating "primarily to the pricing, marketing, and sales of our egg products," both companies wrote in their 10-Q filings.

Michaels Foods’ egg products division includes Papetti’s, M.G. Waldbaum and MFI Food Canada. The company describes itself as the "largest global supplier of processed eggs."

Golden Oval is a farmer owned cooperative, established in 1994.

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