LANSING (WWJ) – The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) has fined a Colorado-based company for shorting consumers buying their boneless, skinless chicken breast singles, which are sold at Sams Clubs Stores across the state.

A consent agreement was issued to Pilgrim’s Pride with fines and restitution totaling $7,000 and a probationary period of two years.

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Keith Creagh, MDARD Director, said a customer alerted the organization to the problem and inspectors confirmed consumers were being overcharged.

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The consumer complaint, filed July 6, alleged that the Pilgrim’s Pride Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Singles they had purchased at a local Sam’s Club was short-weight, meaning the package contained less than it was labeled and led to a consumer over-charge of 28 cents.

On July 6, purchases at two Sam’s Club locations were conducted and both purchases were found to be short-weight. The next day, an MDARD inspection at Sam’s Club revealed that 34 of 34 (100%) packages tested weighed less than the quantity represented; with an average negative error of 0.099 lb. and an average overcharge to customers of 27 cents per container.

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An internal inquiry at the company revealed an error had been made on the tare weight – the weight of the packaging – for the packages starting in March. In Michigan, consumers cannot be charged for tare weight. The investigation determined that 22,437 packages had been sold in Michigan between March and July.