Whole Foods Will Pay $500,000 Settlement To NYC, Submit To Audits

For the last half of 2015, Whole Foods has been coping with the fallout from admitting that yes, its stores in New York City priced some items that were packaged and weighed in the store incorrectly. After paying an $800,000 settlement last year in California for pretty much the same thing, Whole Foods has will pay the penalty and submit to quarterly audits.

Overcharges on individual packages of food ranged from 80¢ on a package of pecan panko to $14.84 on store-packaged coconut shrimp. At that rate, the grocer would need to sell 33,393 marked-up shrimp packages to cover the fine, but the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs says that incorrect weights showed up during inspections dating back to 2010.

In addition to quarterly inspections by city officials, Reuters reports that Whole Foods stores in New York City will also have to train employees on how to correctly weigh store-packaged goods, including important steps like not charging customers for the weight of the container.

Yes, you can expect some errors to happen when humans are involved in packaging food. However, DCA inspectors said that they checked 80 items in the chain’s eight stores in the city, and found that all of the items they checked had inaccurate weights and prices.

Whole Foods, for its part, says that its employees didn’t deliberately get package weights wrong and overcharge customers, and that the DCA didn’t accuse them of doing so.

Whole Foods shareholders and executives won’t be subsisting on whole-grain, sustainably sourced MSG-free ramen packets quite yet, though: damage to the company’s sales means that sales have increased less than they normally would, with sales up only 1.3% halfway through 2015.

Whole Foods to pay $500,000 to resolve NY City overcharging probe [Reuters]

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