Fresh Del Monte Produce has confirmed it has received a "statement of objections" from the European Commission concerning the investigation of banana pricing in the EU.

The company is the fourth group to be faced with charges in this ongoing investigation alongside Dole Food Co, Chiquita Brands International and Ireland's Fyffes.

All four have now received "statements of objections" - a procedural document in which the Commission communicates its preliminary view in relation to a possible infringement of EU competition law. The statement allows the addressee to present arguments in response.

"The company will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation, will carefully analyse the statement of objections as well as the Commission's file, and will timely respond to the preliminary findings in the statement of objections," Del Monte said.
 
Only yesterday (26 July) Dole Food Co insisted it had not broken EU competition laws after becoming the third banana importer to face charges over running an alleged cartel.

Earlier this week, Chiquita told just-food that two years ago, the company discovered a number of its employees had shared information on the price and volume of its bananas in Europe.

A Chiquita spokesman said the company "promptly" stopped the misconduct and voluntarily notified the Commission.

Irish fruit distributor Fyffes received its list of charges from the European Commission on 25 July.

Fyffes said it would examine the Commission's "preliminary findings" and respond in "due course".