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   Fruit Labeling Machinery Manufacturer Files Suit Alleging Exclusionary Conduct
by Russ, August & Kabat
Posted: Monday, November 6, 2017 at 9:04AM EST

LOS ANGELES – Hurst International LLC is a Southern California manufacturer of the machinery that applies labels to fruits and vegetables purchased at grocery retailers. Hurst filed suit today against competitor Sinclair Systems, International in Federal Court claiming that Sinclair is engaging in unlawful and competitively exclusionary conduct such as below-cost pricing and entering into contracts in an effort to charge higher prices in markets where Hurst does not compete.

Sinclair is the largest manufacturer of fruit labeling application equipment, with an estimated market share of over 70%. Hurst is seeking the court’s assistance to stop Sinclair from continuing to engage in anticompetitive conduct, which includes providing customers with free equipment, free labels and labels offered at deep discounts for the purpose of locking-out competition and maintaining their market share. Hurst claims that these practices result in an anti-competitive environment for all of Sinclair’s competitors.  The purpose of the suit is to ensure a “level playing field” for all labeling companies and allow the produce industry the ability to adopt critical new technologies that vastly increases food safety.

Hurst International is the leader in fruit labeling technology and the originator of the patented “Print on Demand” Versaprint labeling system. The innovative system combines technology developed by Hurst to meet the needs of the fruit packaging industry. The Direct Thermal Printing technology allows packers to label up to 63 different graphics at speeds up to 15 fruits per second with the highest effective application rate in the industry. Additionally, this flexible system can print lot numbers and grower codes for item-level traceability. Some customers use this feature for internal control and management; however, packers of produce could soon be required to add this information to fruits and vegetables due to government and retail regulations. Hurst systems can currently meet the industry and government requirements quickly and efficiently.

ABOUT HURST INTERNATIONAL

Hurst International prides itself on its cutting-edge technology and the highest quality in labeling equipment and labels. They are the leader in fruit labeling technology and the originator of the patented “Print on Demand” labeling system, which remains the industry standard. Hurst is dedicated to their customers and meets each company’s unique printing needs by providing them with customized, dependable and superior solutionsr. Poducts include: “Print on Demand” Versaprint systems; automatic conventional pre-printed fruit labeling equipment; battery-operated Electric Hand Labelers; and Produce and General Labels that are compliant with regulatory agencies regarding food contact. Impressed customers include Gebbers Farms, Chelan Fruit, Porterville Citrus Inc. (PCI), Mission Produce, Fresh Select, Del Monte Fresh Produce, and Suntreat Packing & Shipping to name a few. Hurst International has been providing reliable labeling solutions to clients worldwide since 1958. www.hurst-international.com

Source: Russ, August & Kabat


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