NEW YORK (WTEN) – She’s no Easter Bunny, but on April 1, New York Attorney General Letitia James secured 1.2 million eggs that will feed New Yorkers still suffering economically due to COVID-19. An agreement signed with Hillandale Farms Corporation resolves an August 2020 lawsuit for price gouging eggs at the beginning of COVID-19.
Under the agreement, Hillandale will stop price gouging eggs and, in addition, will donate 1.2 million eggs to New York food banks. The food banks will then distribute the eggs to thousands of food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters.
“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,” said Attorney General James. “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.”
According to the suit last year, from March 2020 through at least April 2020, Hillandale allegedly gouged the prices of eggs that it sold to major grocery store chains, U.S. military facilities, and wholesale food distributors throughout the state. The lawsuit alleged that during those two months alone, Hillandale made millions of dollars from price gouging eggs. Many of those eggs were sold in grocery stores located in low-income communities.
From January 2020 to early March 2020, Hillandale charged Western Beef Supermarket prices ranging from $0.59 to $1.10 for a dozen large white eggs. On March 15, 2020, Hillandale raised that price to $1.49. As the pandemic progressed, Hillandale raised prices, eventually reaching $2.93 per dozen. Similarly, prices were raised on eggs sold to Stop & Shop, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Associated Supermarkets, and at the commissary stores at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and at the U.S. military bases at Fort Hamilton and at Fort Drum.