Attorney General Provides Funds to Good Shepherd Food Bank

November 23, 2010

Contact: Kate Simmons (207) 626-8577

Attorney General Janet T. Mills announced that $135,000 in proceeds from a court case will soon help to feed the hungry in Maine. The funds, which result from a price-fixing case against major vitamin companies, will be donated to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, the state?s largest distributor of emergency food to those in need. A small portion of the settlement funds will also go to the State?s Emergency Food Assistance Program to purchase food for low-income Mainers.

The money stems from a multistate lawsuit against 10 separate vitamin manufacturers. This is the second lawsuit emerging from the international vitamins price-fixing scheme. Both suits alleged a price-fixing conspiracy among vitamin manufacturers which indirectly raised the cost of food between 1988 and 2000. Because the majority of food items sold commercially contain vitamin products, the increase in the price of supplements resulted in higher prices for consumers across the country.

The latest settlement, approved by the court, is to compensate the public for the high prices of food products during the years of the price-fixing activities. Due to the impracticality of providing such a small rebate to so many consumers, the settlement allows the proceeds to be distributed to programs that benefit and improve the health or nutrition of Maine consumers. The Attorney General asked the court?s permission to use the money for emergency hunger relief, and the judge approved.

The Good Shepherd Food Bank will use the funds primarily to buy Maine-grown produce and Maine-processed food for distribution throughout the state. The Emergency Food Assistance Program will also purchase emergency food stores for low-income Mainers.

Attorney General Mills stated, ?I can think of no better use for this money than to feed the hungry at a time when our state is reeling from the economic downturn. When people are losing their jobs, their homes and their dreams due to a national recession, this money can provide some small comfort to those in need.?