Dole, Del Monte fined over banana pricing

Oct. 15, 2008 at 3:36 PM

BRUSSELS, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The European Commission Wednesday said California fruit producers Dole and Del Monte have been fined more than $80 million for fixing prices of bananas.

The companies were accused, along with Chiquita, of fixing prices during weekly phone calls between 2000 and 2002, Deutsche Welle reported Wednesday.

Dole was fined $61.6 million. Del Monte was fined $19.8 million. Chiquita escaped punishment due to its role of whistle-blower in the case.

"European consumers spend significant sums on bananas every year," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

"It is totally unacceptable for companies to have rigged prices in this manner and the companies concerned must learn the hard way that the commission will not tolerate such behavior," Kroes said.

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