The Federal Cartel Office of Germany said representatives from the major sausage firms would get together regularly for decades and decide on what to charge for supermarket meats, reports Reuters. All told, 21 companies and 33 individuals will have to pay out €338 million, or about $461 million, as a result.
“Prices were fixed over many years,” Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt said. “The total fine seems high at first glance but is put in perspective if you consider the large number of companies involved, the duration of the cartel and billions of euros of revenues the sector generates.”
Meat is a staple on German tables, with average household consumption for a year coming in at about 66 pounds. So keeping those prices high doesn’t help the consumer, naturally.
Especially since 2003, there have been agreements between big, privately held companies to try and make it so that supermarkets are forced to shell out higher prices for the sausage they buy, officials said. Those companies and people have two weeks to appeal the decision.