Store-brand food that came up below the weight on their packaging recently resulted in $32,013 in fines and fees against grocer Festival Foods.
The Onalaska-based company had 39 weight violations and two labeling errors that the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection found in seven Wisconsin stores, based on legal documents filed Monday in Eau Claire County Court.
Twenty-one of the weight violations were found in Festival Foods’ three Eau Claire stores during inspections in January and March, according to documents provided by the department. In a sampling done by inspectors, those underweight items were chicken cordon bleu, fresh pork chops, English muffin bread, half-racks of ribs, meringue powder and twin French bread loafs.
The remaining violations were found in Festival Food stores in Fort Atkinson, La Crosse, Holmen and Marshfield.
A stipulation signed by company president and CEO Mark Skogen and DATCP officials has the grocer paying $20,500 in fines plus $11,513 in fees and surcharges. However, the document states the grocery store chain does not admit to violating any state laws, nor can signing the stipulation be construed as an admission of liability.
When asked about the violations, Festival Foods’ community involvement senior director said the company takes weights and measures extremely seriously.
“Our goal is to be as accurate as absolutely possible,” Brian Stenzel wrote in an email to the Leader-Telegram. “Once we discover an issue, we go to great lengths to prevent it from happening again.”