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COMPTON, Calif. -- Ralphs Grocery Co. and its sister supermarket chain Food 4 Less will not be fined for advertising Mexican-grown grapes as California-grown this past summer.
According to published reports, an investigation by the California Department of Food and Agriculture led to its decision not to ask the state attorney general to prosecute the two supermarket chains.
The chains, both owned by Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., faced fines as high as $3,000 for every misadvertised bag of fruit sold. Both Ralphs and Food 4 Less confirmed in July that they had advertised Mexican grapes incorrectly as California grown.
At the time Ralphs spokesman Terry O'Neil told Progressive Grocer the mislabeling was "purely human error," noting that both Ralph's and Food4Less chains have taken every corrective action required of the companies by CDFA.
The state agriculture department found that the incorrect grape ads, which were sent out in June and July, arose out of confusion between the grocery chains' ad and purchasing departments.