A settlement reached with an Ohio-based agriculture firm will lead to the distribution of 1.2 million eggs to hungry New Yorkers, Attorney General Letitia James on Thursday announced.
The settlement is meant to resolve a price-gouging lawsuit first launched last August against Hillandale Farms Corp., James's office said, over illegally increasing the price of eggs last year.
Under the term reached with state and company officials, the firm will donate 100,000 cartons of eggs to food banks in the state. The food banks in turn will distribute the eggs to food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters.
Hunger has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic recession that has led to the loss of 2 million jobs in New York alone. Unemployment in New York remains above the national average.
“As New Yorkers scrambled to stock up on food, one of the nation’s largest egg producers raised prices to unprecedented levels and made it harder for New Yorkers to feed their families,” James said. “Hillandale may have run afoul of our state’s price gouging laws and hatched a plan that targeted our state’s most vulnerable in its darkest hour, but, today, we’re delivering 1.2 million eggs to feed hungry New Yorkers and make things right. New Yorkers can trust that I will always stand up for our state’s working families."
In a statement, Hillendale Farms confirmed the settlement terms and noted the case against it had been dismissed.
"Although it is important to note that the approach to pricing commodity eggs in New York has remained consistent for decades, the resolution of this matter reflects Hillandale Farms’ deep concern about the communities we serve," the company said. "We welcomed the opportunity to take steps to benefit New York’s most vulnerable families and support ongoing hunger relief in the state. As we have done for generations, we will continue to focus on producing quality eggs, operating with honesty and integrity, and maintaining the highest standards for our team, customers and animals."