For the third time in two years, Oscar Mayer is in hot water with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for short-weighing their products. Oscar Mayer is owned by Northfield-based Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
An inspector from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection found nine instances of false representation of quantity in Oscar Mayer products in Wisconsin stores, according to a press release from the agricultural agency.
More specifically, the company short-weighted eight packages of Oscar Mayer-brand cooked ham and one package of Oscar Mayer-brand honey ham in June and July 2012. The packages were located in Beloit, Dodgeville, Plover, Racine, Watertown, Waukesha and Wisconsin Rapids.
While Kraft didn’t admit to violating any Wisconsin laws, they’ll have to pay $13,911.50 civil forfeitures and take corrective actions for allegedly short-weighing packages of food in Wisconsin stores.
According to officials with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, the corrective actions will be made system-wide and in their Davenport, Iowa plant.
Syd Lindner, a spokesperson for Kraft Foods / Oscar Mayer, issued the following statement:
Quality is very important to our company. That includes product weight. Oscar Mayer produces several hundred million packages a year and we work to ensure the correct amount of food is placed in each and every one. The State of Wisconsin cited us for nine packages that were slightly short. This was an unplanned and unwanted variance. We have looked at the cause with a team of experts and have made changes in our plant to strengthen our process. This includes making a substantial capital investment to improve our production line. We are working diligently to ensure compliance.
We respect the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and their work, and are pleased to have settled with them on this matter so we can focus on making our great-tasting, high-quality products for consumers.
These actions include:
- System-wide steps:
- Within the next five years, Oscar Mayer will install check-weighers (scales integrated in the assembly line that measure each package) on all production lines at an estimated $10 million cost to the company.
- Oscar Mayer will assess the capability of all existing check-weighers by conducting a measurement system analysis.
- Oscar Mayer will revise the end‐of‐shift net weight document review process to include a review to confirm that plant personnel followed net weight compliance procedures during the production run.
- Oscar Mayer will provide training for all quality teams and regular follow‐up activities for quality managers.
- Davenport plant:
- Oscar Mayer will conduct net weight verification checks every 15 minutes on production line 4 for six months following the date on which those checks began (August 27, 2012).
- Oscar Mayer will make changes to the layout of production line 4 to improve the transition points between conveyor belts with the goal of enhancing check-weigher performance.
- Oscar Mayer will conduct a failure modes and effects analysis of production line 4.