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Judge Fines Kroger For Inaccurate Labeling, Prices

A California judge has ordered the Kroger Co. and its Ralphs division to pay a civil judgment of nearly $300,000 involving the sales of frozen dairy dessert products and inaccurate unit pricing, the Los Angeles Times reports.

California state inspectors, in response to a consumer complaint in 2009, found several flavors of Ralphs and Kroger brand Frozen Dairy Dessert had up to 15 percent less volume than advertised, according to the report. A year later, inspectors found Ralphs stores were not accurately advertising unit prices on a number of products, according to the Riverside County district attorney’s office.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger operates supermarkets and multi-department stores under the Ralphs and Food 4 Less names in California.

Judge Gloria Trask issued an injunction requiring all Ralphs and Food 4 Less stores in Riverside County to hire a “pricing integrity coordinator,” to make sure the information on shelf tags was accurate.

In addition, the judge ordered the grocery companies to pay more than $190,000 in civil fines and $50,000 in reimbursements to investigative agencies. Instead of identifying consumers affected by the mislabeling, the judge ordered the grocers to pay $50,000 in restitution to the local Second Harvest Food Bank.

Kroger, Ralphs and its affiliates are “committed to complying with all laws,” company spokeswoman Kendra Dovel said in an email, according to the Business Courier. “We strictly monitor Weights and Measures compliance. We made the business decision to resolve this, enabling us to move forward.”

Kroger is the nation’s largest traditional grocery retailer with more than 339,000 associates in 2,435 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states. The company also operates 791 convenience stores, 348 fine jewelry stores, 1,090 supermarket fuel centers and 39 food processing plants in the U.S.

 

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