- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A federal judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed complaints of an alleged price-fixing scheme by the country’s top three candy makers.

PennLive (https://bit.ly/Ny4r2M) said U.S. Middle District Chief Judge Christopher Conner in Wednesday’s ruling concluded that the plaintiffs showed no definitive proof of illegal collusion by Hershey Co., Mars Inc. and Nestle.

The ruling affects 91 lawsuits by retail stores and other direct business buyers of chocolate products. They claimed Hershey, Mars and Nestle violated federal antitrust laws by coordinating price hikes. The allegations focused on identical or nearly identical price increases in 2002, 2004 and 2007.

The companies said they made pricing decisions independently and based on factors including increases in the cost of raw materials.

Conner noted that cocoa prices did rise 53 percent from 2002 to 2007.

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Information from: The Patriot-News, https://www.pennlive.com/patriotnews

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