Northland Cranberries Inc. has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the farmers' co-op and cranberry juice producer, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., contending that the cooperative has monopolized the cranberry-products industry to the detriment of both consumers and its competitors.

Ocean Spray, a cooperative of 900 producers based in Lakeville, Massachusetts, said in response that it competes fairly in the market and will defend itself against the allegations in court.

Filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia, the lawsuit accuses the coop and its members of fixing prices, pooling profits, restricting output and boycotting certain customers, including some competing independent processors like Northland. Northland, based in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, is seeking monetary damages to be determined by the court and an injunction preventing Ocean Spray from continuing the alleged anticompetitive and exclusionary practices.

Northland has been joined in the suit by Clermont Inc., of Duxbury, Massachusetts., which had been the second largest cranberry processor in the US until 1999 when it left the business. Clermont claims that it was forced out of the market by Ocean Spray.