Whole Foods agrees to pay $500,000 to settle mislabeling, overcharging at NYC stores

Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods Market (Wikimedia)

Under the terms of a settlement released today with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), Whole Foods has agreed to pay $500,000 for overcharging NYC customers for prepackaged food.

The agency said Monday that as part of the settlement, Whole Foods must adhere to strict preventive and corrective standards to protect New Yorkers from being overcharged.

Under the terms of the settlement, Whole Foods is required to:

  • pay $500,000;
  • conduct quarterly in-store audits of at least 50 products from 10 different departments at all New York City stores to help ensure products are accurately weighed and labeled, and to correct all inaccuracies;
  • in the event that DCA inspectors identify mislabeled pre-packaged foods at a Whole Foods Store, that store must immediately remove all mislabeled products and, within 15 days, Whole Foods must check the accuracy of that product’s pricing, as well as 20 additional products from the same department, at all New York City stores;
  • implement and enforce policies and procedures that require employees not estimate the weight of a package but rather individually weigh each package and only label the package with a label that is based on the weight of the actual contents; and,
  • conduct trainings for all New York City employees who are involved in weighing and labeling products.

Last year Whole Foods paid an $800,000 settlement in California for overcharging.

In a separate statement, Whole Foods said it refused to consider DCA’s original demands of $1.5 million, but agreed to pay $500,000 “in order to put this issue behind us so that we can continue to focus our attention on providing our New York City customers with the highest level of quality and service.”

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