Price Check: Groceries Fined for Pricing Violations

More than half of 650 stores visited last year hit with at least one summons.

By Susannah Griffee
|  Friday, Mar 4, 2011  |  Updated 12:45 PM EDT
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NEW YORK - AUGUST 14: A woman shops at a Fairway grocery store August 14, 2008 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. A new government report has shown that U.S. inflation has risen to a 17-year-high annual rate in July, led by gains in energy, food, airline fares and apparel. Consumer prices rose by 0.8 per cent in July, which means that the cost of living in America is rising at a rate of 5.6 per cent over the year as a whole. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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New York City’s supermarkets need a serious clean up.

Department of Consumer Affairs data shows 370 of 650 stores visited by inspectors last year received at least one summons. Violations ranged from overcharging and faulty scales to improperly labeled products.

The worst offender was Pioneer Supermarket on Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn, with $11,460 in fines.

Coming in second and third are the Associated Supermarket on Pennsylvania Avenue in Brooklyn and Tradewise Supermarket on Truxton Street in Brooklyn, each with more than $9,000 in fines.

No manager was available to speak at the Pioneer Market. According to an employee who answered the phone and refused to give his name, an old manager was fired due to the fines. “That’s why we have a new manager now,” the employee told NBC New York.

The Department of Consumer Affairs data was first reported in the New York Post, which filed a Freedom of Information request to get it.

The list of the 25 worst offenders also includes the popular Fairway in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and the Whole Foods in Columbus Circle.

According to Whole Foods spokesman Michael Sinatra, fines were primarily related to pricing issues.

“There are very specific laws set by the DCA regarding how items are displayed in stores,” said Sinatra. “If a price tag even falls off a single item, you can be fined for it.”

Although Whole Foods audits its stores multiple times per year, Sinatra acknowledges, “in high capacity grocery stores, these things come up.”  

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