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State cites Oscar Mayer for underweight packages, again

For the third time in two years, Wisconsin officials have fined Kraft Foods for selling meat packages out of its Oscar Mayer division that weigh less than what their labels say.

Consumer protection officials said Kraft's Oscar Mayer division will pay $14,000 after state inspectors found nine soft packages of ham that were short of the 20 ounces they claimed to weigh. The items were found last summer at Walmarts in Beloit, Dodgeville, Plover, Watertown, Waukesha, and Wisconsin Rapids - and a Racine Piggly Wiggly store.

Sandy Chalmers of the state's Consumer Protection agency said some of the packages weighed 12% less than advertised, and as a result, consumers paid 50 cents per package for something they didn't get.

In 2011, Kraft Foods paid $17,000 for similar short-weight violations in Wisconsin. A follow-up inspection turned up more short-weighted food items, which resulted in a $37,000 fine.

Responding to the third penalty, Oscar Mayer said it would install new scales at its processing plant in Iowa, for a cost of about $10 million.