New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs announced an ongoing investigation into Whole Foods after finding the grocery store routinely overstated weights and therefore overcharged customers in the city for prepackaged food.
The overcharging ranged from 80 cents for a package of pecan panko to $14.84 for a package of coconut shrimp, the agency said in a statement. The agency’s investigation looked at the city’s eight Whole Foods stores.
“DCA tested packages of 80 different types of pre-packaged products and found all of the products had packages with mislabeled weights,” the statement said. “Additionally, 89 percent of the packages tested did not meet the federal standard for the maximum amount that an individual package can deviate from the actual weight, which is set by the U.S. Department of Commerce.”
DCA inspectors called it the “worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers,” DCA Commissioner Julie Menin said.
Whose Foods faced a fine in the thousands for the violations, the agency said.
In a statement, Whole Foods called the allegations “overreaching.”
“We cooperated fully with the DCA from the beginning until we disagreed with their grossly excessive monetary demands,” the company said. “Despite our requests to the DCA, they have not provided evidence to back up their demands nor have they requested any additional information from us, but instead have taken this to the media to coerce us.”
The company was accused of overcharging customers in California and fined nearly $800,000 last year.