Kraft Food Groups has agreed to pay up after investigators found several packages of short-weight Oscar Mayer meat products.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection discovered that between August 2011 and February 2012, 11 packages of Oscar Mayer light beef franks, 12 packages of Oscar Mayer roast beef and one package of Oscar Mayer roasted turkey breast were underweight.
Kraft agreed to a civil forfeiture of $36,908.50, but doesn't have to admit any wrongdoing. The fine was practically nothing for the company, which raked in $813 million over the first three months of 2012 alone.
The Wisconsin State-Journal spoke with Judy Cardin, the chief of weights and measures for the Illinois department that made the finding, who called the shortages "very significant ... These kinds of shortages should never be leaving the plant."
Product measurements and weights are often an issue for companies that produce food products. Mettler-Toledo International is a company that banks on such problems, providing precision instruments for accurate measurements.
On its website, the Metter-Toledo cites a survey by Foodmanufacturing.com that revealed 37 percent of the companies interviewed "stated that the interpretation of applicable policies was a real challenge."
Oven heat changes and other manufacturing changes were to blame for the underweight products, Kraft spokeswoman Syd Lindner told the Wisconsin State-Journal, but corrections have been made.