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Posted: June 24, 2015

Sting operation catches Whole Foods overcharging customers

A man walks into Whole Foods in Brooklyn on May 7, 2014, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A man walks into Whole Foods in Brooklyn on May 7, 2014, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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An investigation of Whole Foods stores in New York City uncovered "systemic" overcharging of its customers who purchased pre-packaged foods.

The city's Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) said Wednesday 89 percent of the food packaging it tested during the fall of 2014 were not in line with federal standards for the maximum amount "that an individual package can deviate from the actual weight," the Daily News reported. 

The overcharging dates back to 2010, according to the investigation.

"The overcharges were especially prevalent in packages that had been labeled with exactly the same weight when it would be practically impossible for all the packages to weigh the same amount. These products included nuts and other snack products (flavored almonds, pecan panko and corn nuts), berries, vegetables, and seafood," the agency said.

Inspectors weighed 80 different package types at eight different locations, and found all had mislabeled weights. 

A Whole Foods spokesperson, Michael Sinatra, denied that the company had done anything improper, saying the chain "never intentionally used deceptive practices to incorrectly charge customers."

The investigation comes after Whole Foods agreed to pay $800,000 in fines for a similar problem in California, the Daily News reported.

Read the report here.

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