Whole Foods: Inspectors Confirm Overcharging, Mislabeled Products

Jennifer Deutschmann

During a recent sting operation, New York's Department of Consumer Affairs discovered Whole Foods is not only overcharging their customers, but many of their products are mislabeled.

Whole Foods is celebrated for offering customers a diverse selection of fresh and healthy products. However, the grocery chain has faced stark criticism for their unusually high prices.

As reported by Daily News, the investigation was conducted in late 2014.

Department of Consumer Affairs spokeswoman Abby Lootens said inspectors purchased 80 prepackaged items from eight Whole Foods locations throughout New York City.

According to Lootens, all 80 products were inaccurately or improperly labeled, and a majority of the products were clearly overpriced.

Although the DCA findings are unsettling, they were not unexpected.

In the last five years, the Department of Consumer Affairs conducted a total of "107 separate inspections" at New York City Whole Foods stores. Investigators noted more than 800 violations.

As a result, the popular grocery chain was ordered to pay nearly $60,000 in fines. Unfortunately, the results of the latest sting operation suggest products are still being mislabeled and customers are still being overcharged.

— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) June 24, 2015

"If a product is delivered to a store pre-packed and pre-sealed and pre-labeled, the retailer does not have control over the packaging and weighting. It's not the retailer — it's the manufacturer that packed the product."

Unfortunately, the overcharging issue is not unique to Whole Foods stores in New York City. In June, 2014, the grocery chain agreed to pay $800,000 in fines stemming from a similar issue in California.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said the investigation, which lasted one year, uncovered unfair pricing and inaccurate labeling at numerous California Whole Foods locations.

— U.S. News (@usnews) June 24, 2015

It is unclear whether the New York City Whole Foods stores will be held to similar standards. However, the DCA confirmed their investigation into the overcharging is ongoing.

[Image via Shutterstock]