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US: Potato growers agree to settle class-action antitrust lawsuit from grocers for $25 million

A federal judge has signed off on a $25 million settlement in a lawsuit between wholesale grocers and potato farming associations accused of forming a price-fixing cartel. Associated Wholesale Grocers filed the class-action lawsuit in 2010, contending that potato growers in Idaho and elsewhere conspired to raise prices by restricting the number of acres planted and taking other steps to limit production. They said such moves raised the cost of a 10-pound bag of potatoes from about $9 in 2007 to roughly $15 in 2008. The defendants — including United Potato Growers of America, whose members produce about 75 per cent of the potatoes grown in the U.S. — denied the claims. More