retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Los Angeles Times reports that “discount chain 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. has been fined $409,490 by the Environmental Protection Agency for selling illegal unregistered or mislabeled pesticides in three household products, the federal agency said Wednesday. The City of Commerce-based retailer continued to sell the items even after being notified of the violations, the agency said. The fine is the largest contested penalty ever handed down.”

Bloomberg reports that “Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. must face a federal lawsuit accusing them of selling milk mislabeled as organic, a U.S. appeals court ruled. A three-judge panel of the St. Louis-based court today revived consumer litigation against those and other retailers and the Aurora Dairy Corp. in Boulder, Colorado, which produced the milk they sold under store-branded labels. The decision overrules a trial judge who dismissed the claims ... The consumers seek unspecified compensatory damages for having allegedly bought ‘organic’ milk that wasn’t authentically organic, together with statutory and punitive awards.”

• The Boston Globe this morning reports that “three egg producers in Maine that supply many New England grocery stores are under scrutiny by congressional investigators because of their ties to Austin “Jack’’ DeCoster, whose Iowa farm was at the center of the recent egg recall.

“The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has requested that DeCoster turn over inspection records and documents related to any allegations of egg contamination, or violations of health, safety, environmental, or animal cruelty laws at Dorothy Egg Farms, Mountain Hollow Farms, and Quality Egg of New England. Together, the three Maine farms provide about 100 million cartons of eggs a year to grocery stores throughout the region ... Many supermarket chains in the region have long assured nervous consumers that their eggs do not come from DeCoster farms, which have a history of labor and environmental violations. But by stocking eggs from Dorothy Egg, Mountain Hollow, and Quality Egg farms, the grocery stores have — wittingly or not — sold eggs produced by businesses with ties to the DeCoster empire.”
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