Former butcher talks about mislabeled meats at Valley stores

When you buy meat, you may pay more for leaner cuts, but what's written on the label doesn't always match what's in the meat.

Last November, we exposed allegations of mislabeling at AJ's Fine Food stores in the Valley.

Federal prosecutors have not confirmed it was going on.

Larry Solberg is a former AJ's butcher who says he was fired for raising concerns about mislabeling at the meat counter.

He told us in November, "The public would be outraged if they knew what was going on."

Solberg says meats were routinely labeled as something that they were not.

"Chuck could have been round, round could have been chuck. The customers were being misled by what we were selling."

Solberg says if you were paying more for leaner ground meats, you may not have been getting it.

"What we were doing is taking all the cuts of the steaks, putting them in a big grinder, grinding the products through and just putting it the case."

Bashas', which owns AJ's Fine Foods, told us in November, that Solberg was "dismissed" for unrelated reasons.

Recently, federal prosecutors say AJ's stores mislabeled more than 150,000 pounds of meat. They say "the result of these mislabeling practices was that customers were overcharged."

They say it happened from 2010-2012.

Prosecutors announced Bashas' agreed to pay $1.4 million dollars in restitution to Arizona food banks.

Bashas' blames employees for the mislabeling. They say they've taken disciplinary action and are retraining workers.

Read Basha's full statement here.

Butchers tell us it is tough to spot mislabeled beef. But they say, typically, the darker it is, the leaner it is.

Also, the USDA told us they were setting up testing accuracy of fat content labels.

Find out more from the USDA website.

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at joe@abc15.com or by going to my  "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.

 

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