22 WINN-DIXIE STORES IN GEORGIA FINED

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Twenty-two Georgia supermarkets operated by Winn-Dixie Stores here have been fined a combined $28,000 by the Georgia Department of Agriculture for violating the Georgia Food Act, which regulates all areas of food operations from warehousing to retail.The stores were cited for selling out-of-date food products -- including grocery, meat, produce and dairy -- which is illegal in

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Twenty-two Georgia supermarkets operated by Winn-Dixie Stores here have been fined a combined $28,000 by the Georgia Department of Agriculture for violating the Georgia Food Act, which regulates all areas of food operations from warehousing to retail.

The stores were cited for selling out-of-date food products -- including grocery, meat, produce and dairy -- which is illegal in Georgia. The stores were also cited for sanitation violations such as unclean stockrooms and equipment.

Four of the stores, which had been cited for the same type of violations three years ago, were fined $2,500 each. The other 18 were each fined $1,000.

All 22 stores have been placed on two years' probation. If they are not in compliance with the Department of Agriculture's orders at the end of that period, they will be fined an additional $1,000 per store, according to a release from the Department.

Sixteen of the stores cited are in metro Atlanta, three are in Augusta, and one each is in Camilla, St. Simons Island and Dalton.

In the wake of the fines, Mickey Clerc, Winn-Dixie's vice president of public relations, said the chain has taken steps to insure that out-of-date products are pulled from shelves.

"We have instituted a program throughout the company which says we will pay customers $1 if they find a product which has an out-of-date sell-by date," said Clerc. "We have also instituted plans to reinforce our policies on rotation."

Clerc declined to comment on the specifics of the Georgia ruling.