The claims date back to 2007

The claims date back to 2007

Hershey and Nestle have said they will continue to defend themselves against allegations of fixing the price of chocolate in the US after a court gave the all-clear for a class action lawsuit.

A court in the US has said over 90 claimants can table a class action against the companies and fellow chocolate maker Mars Inc for fixing prices between 2002 and 2007.

The ruling is the latest development in a story that dates back five years when the three companies and the then Cadbury Schweppes faced claims of collusion. With class action status granted, the case will now continue.

Cadbury, now owned by Mondelez International, has settled out of court but Hershey and Nestle have insisted they will fight on.

"We are reviewing the ruling, which is limited only to class action procedures and is in no way determinative of the allegations in the case which remain unproven. Nestlé will continue to vigorously defend itself in this litigation," a spokesperson for Nestle USA said.

Hershey added: "We believe the allegations in this case are without merit.  Hershey will vigorously defend itself as the legal process unfolds."

Officials at Mars could not be reached for comment.