NEW HAVEN, Conn. --
Plaintiffs filed an amended class-action lawsuit against U.S. Foodservice in U.S. District Court here last week, detailing a scheme in which the distributor is alleged to have marked up the price of goods through the use of “value-added service providers.” The VASPs, according to testimony in the lawsuit, simply served to mark up the cost of goods upon which U.S. Foodservice based its pricing to its customers. The suit was originally filed in October by Waterbury Hospital, Waterbury, Conn., and other customers of U.S. Foodservice, the Columbia, Md.-based food-service distribution arm of Ahold, Amsterdam. It alleges that Ahold conspired with vendors to create fraudulent invoices that it used to justify its costs in pricing products for its customers. Ahold could not be reached for comment on Friday, but a report in The Financial Times of London said the company was preparing a “substantial defense” against the suit and would seek to have it dismissed. Ahold, which also owns the Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover, Giant-Carlisle and Tops supermarket chains in the U.S., is seeking to sell both U.S. Foodservice and Tops.