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Stop & Shop Fined Over Mislabeled Beef



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Stop & Shop Fined Over Mislabeled Beef

HARTFORD — Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr, announced March 25 that his agency has entered into an agreement of voluntary compliance with the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, LLC of Quincy, Mass., for allegations of mislabeled ground beef being offered for sale at a Stop & Shop in Middletown. Packages of the store’s ground beef were found to contain a higher percentage of fat than their labels stated.

While admitting no wrongdoing, the Stop & Shop Company agrees to undertake good faith measures to prevent the store’s ground beef from being mislabeled, and will pay $500 to the Department of Consumer Protection toward the agency’s enforcement fund.

“Consumers have a right to consistently get what they pay for, and that certainly applies to ground beef,” Cmmsr Farrell said. “For both economic and health reasons, the quality and fat content in ground beef must accurately reflect what is stated on the label.”

The department alleged that during a recent routine inspection at the Middletown Stop & Shop store, inspectors selected random ground beef packages for testing to determine whether the fat content was in accordance with what was stated on the package. The beef was found to be inaccurately labeled, and a second sampling again yielded mislabeled packages of ground beef.

“For shoppers who are watching their cholesterol or their family food budget, this is simply unacceptable,” Cmmsr Farrell said. “When stores prepare large quantities of ground beef, variations in fat percentage can occur unintentionally, but the standards allowed by law are not unreasonable.”

Cmmsr Farrell indicated that if the amount of fat actually in the ground beef sample exceeded the amount stated on the label by 20 percent or more, it was considered noncompliant.

The current round of random ground beef testing continues from an initiative launched last December, when the department sampled and tested the fat content of ground beef sold at numerous Connecticut grocery stores. Of 30 samples, six contained a significantly higher percentage of fat than stated on the label, in violation of the Connecticut Uniform Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The department publicized its findings and sent each store a warning letter identifying the problem; at subsequent random retests, all six stores were fully compliant.

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