|Industry||Food processing and distribution|
Koch Foods is a food processor and distributor in Park Ridge, Illinois that as of December 2019[update] is listed by Forbes magazine as number 125 on the list of the largest private companies in the US. As of October 2014, the company had a revenue of $3 billion, and approximately 14,000 employees. The company is owned by Joseph Grendys.
The company was founded in 1973. Until 1985, it was a "one-room" chicken processing outfit with 13 employees, primarily conducting de-boning and cutting. The company began growing with the addition of feed mills and slaughterhouses. Now Koch Foods is an international poultry processor that deals in fresh and frozen offerings. The company does business under the Koch Foods, Antioch Farms, Preferred Foods, and Rogers Royal brands. It also has private label products. The company is a supplier for Burger King, Kroger and Walmart.
Despite similarities in the names and the fact that both were founded by men named Fred Koch, Koch Foods has no relation to Koch Industries (founded by Fred C. Koch) or the Koch brothers; their founders are two entirely different people.
The company has facilities in the following locations: Franklin Park, Illinois; Ashland, Alabama; Gadsden, Alabama; Montgomery, Alabama; Sylacauga, Alabama; Fairfield, Ohio; Forest, Mississippi; McComb, Mississippi; Morton, Mississippi;Chattanooga, Tennessee; Morristown, Tennessee; Pine Mountain Valley, Georgia.
In 2017 Koch Foods announced plans to build a $40 million feed-mill in Roanoke, Alabama. In 2019 Koch Foods announced that Roanoke, Alabama was no longer the target location for this feed-mill.  Instead, Koch Foods announced plans to build a modern grain storage and distribution facility in Attalla, Alabama.
Racial discrimination against farmers
Koch has been accused of discriminating against black contract farmers and retaliating against those who spoke out. From 2009 to 2015, the company went from having contracts with four black farmers in Mississippi to having none. USDA investigators found "evidence of unjust discrimination" against black farmers by Koch.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit
In 2012 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought a class employment discrimination lawsuit against Koch alleging harassment of workers and discrimination based on national origin and race at Koch's Morton, Mississippi plant. The lawsuit alleged that workers were “subjected to touching and sexually suggestive comments, were hit, were charged money for normal everyday work activities” among other things.
In 2018 Koch Foods paid $3,750,000 plus other relief to settle the case.
Use of undocumented labor
On August 28, 2007, federal authorities raided a chicken processing plant operated by Koch Foods in Fairfield, Ohio and detained 161 undocumented workers. Following the raid, and subsequent investigation, Koch Foods paid a fine on February 12, 2010 of $536,046 for violating federal immigration law. According to a 2010 ICE press release, the company cooperated and began using E-Verify, an Internet-based system that allows an employer to verify a person's work eligibility.
On August 7, 2019, federal authorities raided seven chicken processing plants operated by Koch Foods and four other companies in Mississippi and detained 680 undocumented workers. The exact number arrested at the Koch facilities has not been specified but authorities used five buses to transfer detainees from the plant to a hangar at a nearby airbase for processing. Homeland Security Investigations has faced criticism because the raid occurred on Mississippi's first day of school. According to the mayor of Jackson, no managers or owners responsible for hiring unauthorized immigrants in such high numbers were charged.
On May, 19, 2021, Norman W. Fries, Inc (Claxton Poultry Farms), and on July 28, 2021 Koch Foods and 4 executives were indicted by a federal grand jury of Conspiracy to Restrain Trade; the Department of Justice alleged that Koch Foods and Norman W. Fries were conspiring to fix the price of broiler chicken to suppress and eliminate competition.
- "Koch Foods". America's Largest Private Companies 2019. Forbes. 17 December 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
- Arnsdorf, Isaac (June 26, 2019). "How a Top Chicken Company Cut Off Black Farmers, One by One". ProPublica. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
- Bowman, Jeremy (May 18, 2015). "How Koch Foods Built a $3 Billion Chicken Empire". The Motley Fool.
- "Koch Foods to build $40-million feed mill in Roanoke". The Randolph Leader. October 11, 2017. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
- "Koch Foods Backs out of Feed Mill Deal". Feed and Grain. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
- "Koch Foods Investing $50M In New Alabama Feed-mill". Business Facilities. November 9, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
- "CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:11-CV-00391-CWR-LRA" (PDF). THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI JACKSON DIVISION. Retrieved June 29, 2019 – via www.courtlistener.com.
- Burden, Lisa. "Koch Foods to pay $3.75M to settle sexual harassment, race claims". HR Dive. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
- "Koch Foods Settles EEOC Harassment, National Origin and Race Bias Suit". U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
- Harris, Melissa. "Inside billionaire Joe Grendys' chicken empire". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- Michael D. Pitman, Staff Writer. "$500K fine for immigration violations paid by Koch Foods". Journal-News. Liberty Township, Butler County, Ohio. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- Hopkins, Andrea (August 28, 2007). "Immigration raids Koch Foods Ohio chicken plant". Reuters. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- Solis, Rogelio; Amy, Jeff. "Largest US immigration raids in a decade net 680 arrests". Stars and Stripes. Associated Press. Archived from the original on August 8, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
- Gallagher, Dianne; Shoichet, Catherine E.; Holcombe, Madeline. "680 undocumented workers arrested in record-setting immigration sweep on the first day of school". CNN. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
- Lumamba, Chokwe Antar. "Mass ICE Raids in Mississippi After Workers Fought for Better Conditions Leave Kids Without Parents". Democracy Now. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- Jackson, David (August 11, 2019). "Trump aide regrets 'unfortunate' timing on ICE raid of food processing plants in Mississippi". USA TODAY. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
Only employees were arrested at the plants – not employers.
- Harold Gater (August 9, 2019). "'Now hiring': Koch Foods holding job fair after Mississippi ICE raids". The Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
- "Four Executives and Company Charged with Price Fixing in Ongoing Investigation into Broiler Chicken Industry". www.justice.gov. 2021-07-29. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
- "DOJ charges Koch Foods, four Pilgrim's Pride execs in poultry price fixing case". www.agri-pulse.com. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
- "Broiler Chicken Producer Indicted for Price Fixing and Bid Rigging". www.justice.gov. 2021-05-20. Retrieved 2021-07-29.