Kraft Foods, which operates Davenport’s Oscar Mayer Division plant, will pay a civil forfeiture of $13,911 and take systemwide corrective actions because of alleged violations of short-weight packages produced in Davenport and found in Wisconsin stores, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced Wednesday.
This marks the company’s third civil forfeiture of the state’s weights and measures statutes in the past two years. Because of that, the company will take corrective actions systemwide and additional actions at Davenport.
A weights and measures inspection found nine instances of false representation of quantity in Oscar Mayer products sold at several stores throughout the state. The Consumer Protection Bureau conducted the inspections in June and July 2012.
The Davenport plant manufactures Oscar Mayer lunch meat and Lunchables lunch combinations.
The short-weight products included eight packages of Oscar Mayer-brand cooked ham and one package of Oscar Mayer-brand honey ham.
As part of the civil forfeiture agreement, Kraft did not admit to violating any Wisconsin laws.
“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,” Kraft spokesperson Syd Lindner said in a written response to the Quad-City Times.
“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.”
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Company-wide corrective steps include installing checkweighers in the next five years on all production lines at an estimated $10 million cost to the company.
Specific measures to be taken at Davenport:
-- Conduct net weight verification checks every 15 minutes on production Line 4 for six months following the date on which those checks began, which was Aug. 27, 2012.
-- Make changes to the layout of production Line 4 to improve the transition points between conveyor belts with the goal of enhancing checkweigher performance.
-- Conduct a failure modes and effects analysis of production Line 4.