Frederick Scott Salyer, the 'Tomato King' of California, Pleads Guilty to Price-Fixing

Categories: Indigestion, News
Ever wonder why ketchup is so expensive given that it's pretty much tomatoes, high-fructose corn syrup, vinegar, spices and salt? Maybe it's not from the extra cent that the Coalition of Immokalee Workers has been fighting for to pay a better wage to the people who pick them in Florida; maybe it's because executives with fancy estates in Pebble Beach, California, are conspiring with their competition to fix the prices of tomatoes sold to giant companies such as ConAgra and Kraft.

According to the Washington Post, Frederick Scott Salyer, who runs SK Foods in Monterey, admitted to bribing his way into sales contracts and price-fixing with his competition. There's also a little detail in there about falsification of documents, including certifications for "organic" tomatoes and regarding food safety.

Salyer took a plea deal that will result in four to seven years behind bars and will hand over the offshore accounts in which he stashed his money just before declaring bankruptcy.

In the meantime, that organic ketchup you bought? Better check into the antecedents of its tomatoes . . . or learn to make it yourself.

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