The French competition authority has launched an investigation into whether the sale of ham in the country is controlled by a cartel.

The Autorité de la Concurrence is pro a possible price-fixing agreement on prices of ham and other meat items involving 14 companies – including Fleury Michon and Swiss supermarket group Coop – over a period from January 2011 to April 2013, according to French newspaper Le Monde. 

According to the newspaper, the regulator is seeking to determine whether the companies concerned have agreed a two-way price-fixing deal – on the purchase price for their supply of meat and also a price for sale to distributors.

Le Monde said the authority is looking at deli products sold in supermarkets.

It said The Autorité de la Concurrence confirmed the existence of a “dossier en instruction” but does not wish to speak on a case in progress. 

The newspaper said the industry players involved have been sent notices of grievances, to which they have just replied. 

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Other companies targeted in the enquiry include the Celtic Salaisons (Intermarché), Spain-based Campofrio Food Group, which owns the Aoste brand, and Nestle, Le Monde said.

When contacted by just-food, a spokesperson for The Autorité de la Concurrence said: “There isn’t any official statement on the ham investigation. We only confirmed that there was in fact an on-going investigation but we can’t comment further.”