Ever since Aristotle wandered the supermarkets, philosophers and scientists have been wondering which came first: the chicken or the egg. Aristotle went with both, saying neither could have preceded the other. Around 2000 years later, Stephen Hawking favored the egg.
However, when it comes to Tuesday afternoon's news that corporate behemoths Kellogg Co., General Mills Inc., Kraft Foods Inc. and Nestle SA have sued eleven big-league American egg producers for supposedly "conspiring" to control the prices and supply of their mass-produced chicken eggs, you don't need a causality dilemma to see which way the yolk is sliding. Something smells rotten, and we're not sure what it is.
We do know it's almost impossible to snack (unless you eat things like vegetables) without consuming a product made by one of the named plaintiffs. Nonetheless, all are claiming that they have suffered -- sniff, sniff -- damages as a result of the egg producers' apparently quite nefarious practices. While the tiniest, least tuneful violins in the world play for massive companies whining over being hoodwinked over pricing and product flow -- even if the alleged perpetrators are the scummy likes of Sparboe Farms -- lawyers have to do what lawyers have to do.
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We're skimming for fresh details, but in this case, it's a Federal District court anti-trust suit in Chicago, with Sparboe Farms, Hillandale Farms, and others, including Cal-Maine, the country's largest producer of fresh eggs, all hoping to wriggle free, like a hen out of an axe-wielding farmer's clutches, from any court order demanding monetary damages.