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State regulators crack down on grocery chain for selling cheap milk

Louisiana state regulators recently cracked down on a supermarket chain’s weekly promotional deal because it was selling milk too cheaply — which violates state law.

The upscale Fresh Market was selling gallons of milk for $2.99 as part of a weekly promotional deal. Louisiana requires that retailer price markups be at least six percent above the invoice and shipping costs of the product.

“Because milk is a commodity product with regulated costs that are subject to change, at the current cost, due to Louisiana state law, we are unable to honor the $2.99 Tuesday deal for (Fresh Market) milk,” according to a statement from Drewry Sackett of BRAVE Public Relations, who represents the Fresh Market. “Because the cost of milk fluctuates, it is possible that we will be able to offer the $2.99 deal on milk again in the future.”

“They can sell it six percent over cost all day long. It’s when they sell it below cost that it becomes a problem,” State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain told The Advocate.

After getting a complaint about Fresh Market’s promotional deal, Strain’s office sent an auditor to a French Market store.

At least one Fresh Market shopper was outraged when he found that the state government had intervened to control the store’s milk prices.

“Should we do the same thing with bread? Should we do the same thing with soft drinks?” asked Lafayette stockbroker Kenneth Daigle. “If retailers want to take a loss, so be it.”

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