State auditors in Louisiana have told an upscale food market that it can no longer offer customers its weekly special of $2.99 on a gallon of milk because it violates state law.
Under current state law Louisiana retailers must mark up milk products by at least six percent above the invoice cost after adding freight charges, all according to the Dairy Stabilization Board which oversees milk prices across the state.
Earlier in January, state auditors visited The Fresh Market in Baton Rouge telling them that their weekly special of $2.99 for a gallon of milk was unlawful and had to be changed immediately citing the regulations, The Advocate
“They can sell it six percent over cost all day long. It’s when they sell it below cost that it becomes a problem,” said Mike Strain, state agriculture and forestry commissioner.
Strain told The Advocate that an auditor was sent to Fresh Market after his office had received a complaint about the promotion, though he would not say who the complainant was.
Fresh Market’s corporate headquarters did not respond directly to media inquiries, releasing a statement through the Atlanta-based BRAVE Public Relations.
"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 . . . . 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," said Drewry Sackett, Fresh Market’s marketing, public relations and community relations manager.
Sackett added that the promotion applied only to the store’s private label, which doesn't contain hormones given to cows in most commercial diaries which increase milk production.
Defending the state regulation, Strain argued that in the long run the law keeps the price of milk low. Strain provided The Advocate with a hypothetical scenario in which large supermarkets could offer cheap milk temporarily, driving much smaller competitors out of business only to later increase the price of milk when there was no more competition.
The current price for a gallon of whole milk in Baton Rouge ranges between $4 and $7.
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