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The Westchester, N.Y. County Department of Consumer Protection has fined 21 stores for stocking expired product on shelves.
The stores -- including Whole Foods Market in White Plains, Pathmark in Port Chester and the Morton Williams in Hartsdale -- were fined a total of over $59,000 for numerous infractions, most involving dairy. This was the third round of grocery store inspections in Westchester since 2007.
Whole Foods rushed to assure shoppers after receiving its fine, which, according to MSNBC, was $12,250 for 156 expiration infractions.
"We take this issue very seriously," the grocer said, "and having out-of-date foods on the shelf is simply unacceptable. We're investigating how this happened so we can make sure that we are selling only the freshest products available, as well as reviewing our protocols to ensure that we rotate stock correctly and remove out-dated items.
"It is our hope that this incident will not harm the trust we have built up with our customers."
Lauren La Bruno, Senior Director, Public Relations and Community Affairs at A&P, which owns the Pathmark banner, said in an e-mail, "The instances of outdated products in our Pathmark stores, as per the findings of the County Executive's survey, were clearly unsatisfactory to us. To that end we reiterated our strict procedures to our field and store-level management. Our commitment to providing fresh and safe products is important to us and is supported by our Freshness Guarantee policy."
"Pathmark's policy," she continued, "clearly prohibits our stores from selling products whose sell-by code dates have expired, and our operating procedures require the timely monitoring of display cases to ensure that such items are removed from sale. We are confident that the follow-up review…will prove that our communications efforts were effective and that we will receive a positive score."
On the bright side, The Journal News/LoHud.com reported that two stores, an A&P in Armonk and a Costco in New Rochelle, had no outdated items.