Monday, October 19, 2015

Kraft Ordered to Fulfill Turkey Meat Contract

Written by Katharine Richter

On September 29, 2015, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge, Patricia A. McInerney granted the plaintiffs, Mrs. Ressler’s Food Products Co., a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Kraft Heinz Foods Company.

The lawsuit arose when Kraft reduced its sale of turkey breast to Mrs. Ressler’s Food Products Co., a family-owner meat processor, by 10% and then ultimately suspended shipment.  In September, Kraft informed Mrs. Ressler’s they were suspending all turkey sales indefinitely.  According to the complaint filed by the plaintiffs, the reduction in turkey sales was an attempt to force Mrs. Ressler out of business.  The contract formed in late 2014 had Kraft agreeing to provide Mrs. Ressler’s with 4 million pounds of turkey breast through 2015.  This would amount to 40% of Mrs. Ressler’s turkey supply.  The contract would cost Mrs. Ressler no more than $2.70 per pound for turkey breast, but instead of supplying the company, the complaint stated, Kraft was using the turkey meat for its own products as well as selling it in the open market for a price of $5.70 per pound.

Kraft argued that that due to the avian outbreak, it had to reduce turkey breast sales and further, that the cut posed no threat to Mrs. Ressler’s.  Mrs. Ressler argued they were both economically harmed by relying on the contract as well as loss of reputation by not being able to satisfy customer orders. 

Additional documents relating to this case can be found here, by searching under the court records tab, civil dockets and searching plaintiff's name, "Mrs. Ressler’s Food Products Co."

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