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German sausage makers fined for forming a meat cartel

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Twenty one German sausage makers have been fined millions of dollars for price-fixing. (iStock)

Germany's antitrust authority has imposed fines totaling $460 million on 21 sausage manufacturers for colluding on prices.

The Federal Cartel Office said Tuesday that the fines also included penalties against 33 individuals. The companies punished included Nestle subsidiary Herta, as well as Meica, Boeklunder and Wiesenhof.

The cartel office says major sausage makers started colluding in 2003 to push through higher prices, agreeing on price ranges for various products. It says it was tipped off by an anonymous informant. Eleven companies decided to cooperate with authorities and admit wrongdoing.

Cartel office chairman Andreas Mundt said the fines look high "but they are put into perspective by the large number of companies involved, how long the cartel lasted and the billions made in revenue on the market."