MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Monday the end of a lawsuit against Sparboe Farms, a Minnesota-based egg producer, alleging excessive pricing of eggs in March and April 2020.

Under terms in the settlement between Sparboe and the state, Sparboe will donate 90,000 dozen eggs — more than 1,000,000 eggs in total — to Minnesota nonprofit organizations for the purpose of hunger and food insecurity throughout Minnesota.

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According to the release, Sparboe must complete its egg donation within 18 months and ensure that all eggs are of the same quality as the eggs it sells at retail to Minnesota consumers.

“During the COVID-19 crisis, I used the authority granted to me by executive order to ensure that Minnesotans were protected from pandemic profiteering on food and other essential items,” said Attorney General Ellison.

Under Executive Order 20-10, price gouging on essential items, like food, was illegal for the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency from March 21, 2020 until the termination of the emergency by the Legislature on July 1, 2021.

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In the September 3, 2021 lawsuit against Sparboe, the Attorney General’s Office alleged that Sparboe tripled its egg prices in March 2020 as consumer demand for eggs skyrocketed in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suit alleged that Sparboe increased its prices despite Executive Order 20-10, and that Sparboe was unable to justify the massive price increases.

Minnesota is one of only 11 states to lack any law banning price-gouging, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

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