The B. Manischewitz Co., one of the nation's leading kosher food manufacturers, was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to fix wholesale prices in the U.S. matzo market, Department of Justice officials said Tuesday.
The one-count indictment alleges that Manischewitz and a group of unnamed co-conspirators illegally agreed to increase the price of "Kosher for Passover" matzo products for at least five years.
Manischewitz officials denied the charge and said in a written statement Tuesday that the company will "vigorously defend" itself.
A Newark grand jury charged in the indictment, which was filed Monday, that the matzo maker conspired to fix prices from 1981 through at least April, 1986. The Jersey City, N.J., firm and other kosher food companies have been under investigation for more than two years. The investigation is continuing, said Joe Krovisky, a Department of Justice spokesman.
"During the period of time covered by this indictment, the defendant and co-conspirators were the major manufacturers of Kosher for Passover matzo products in the United States," the indictment said. "Their customers were primarily distributors of kosher food products who sold to supermarket chains and independent grocery stores."