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Sweep of city supermarkets finds less compliance


supermarket Credit: Getty Images

New Yorkers continue to get cheated at the checkout lines.

City officials reported Wednesday that supermarkets are at an all-time low when it comes to pricing and labeling requirements.

During recent supermarket “sweeps” by the Department of Consumer Affairs, only 33 percent complied with all the regulations. And that’s down from 48 percent just five months ago when the last sweep was done.

But unlike last time, Consumer Affairs is not naming names.

In August, the department released a list of top violators only to withdraw the names hours later after noticing inaccuracies.

A supermarket industry trade group called the lack of specifics “shocking.”

“I’m not complaining about the department’s enforcement activity … but the conclusions that seem to be reached are not justifiable,” said Pat Brodhagen, of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State.

While inspectors looked at item pricing, proper taxation and scanner accuracy, it was unclear how many violations there were in the different categories, although the DCA said “lack of item pricing” was the most common.

A DCA spokeswoman said Wednesday that a list was not released again because compliance has become more of an “industry wide” issue than any specific supermarket operator.

The City Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on the issue Thursday.

“We need to also make sure that (the DCA) is spending as much time educating small businesses on the law as it is issuing tickets,” said committee chair Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan).

With the latest review, the DCA made nearly 500 inspections and issued almost 750 charges worth more than $310,000 in fines.

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