Three Midwest pork producers are suing Tyson Fresh Meats and John Morrell & Co. in federal court alleging that the two meatpackers are illegally deducting insurance charges. The companies contend the practice is common and not illegal.

Tyson and Morrell say the charges are a common practice and aren't illegal.

Lori Sokolowski of Solo Pork, Holstein, Iowa, sued Tyson on behalf of herself and about 5,000 other Iowa pork producers who, she claims, also had the insurance charges deducted.

Alan Hoefling of A&G Swine Enterprises,  Marcus, Iowa, filed against Morrell on behalf of himself and other Iowa pork producers who, he says, also had the charges deducted.

Scott Kincaid, Hartington, Neb., is suing Morrell on behalf of himself and other Nebraska pork producers who he claims were charged the fees.

The lawsuits claim that Tyson and Morrell made unauthorized deductions for death loss risk charges. In additions, the plaintiffs contend that neither company is authorized to do business as an insurance company and the practice violates the U.S. Packers and Stockyards Act.

Des Moines Register