For Immediate Release - December 10, 2009

Underweighted Steaks Found at Ruby Tuesdays across Massachusetts by Division of Standards

Inspection finds consistently smaller-than-advertised sizes at Colorado packager

BOSTON - December 10, 2009 - An inspection of Ruby Tuesday restaurants across the state by the Patrick Administration's Division of Standards found that lots of steaks in every eatery checked were smaller than their labeled weight, and the Division announced today a $700 fine against Ruby Tuesday's supplier of the prepackaged steaks, Colorado Premium Foods of Greely, Colo.

The Division checked boxes of steaks at five of the nine Ruby Tuesdays in Massachusetts, and found steaks smaller than their advertised weight at each one. Ruby Tuesday's menus include size-specific items such as seven- and nine-ounce sirloins, and 12-ounce rib-eyes, that the restaurants purchase from Colorado Premium Foods. The Division inspected the weight of steaks at the chain after receiving a consumer complaint regarding a steak that was too small.

"This conduct is unfair to consumers, who need to trust that they are getting what they pay for," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "In these tight times, going out dinner is more of a luxury than in the past. It shouldn't be a guessing game as to whether or not a meal is weighed accurately."

After receiving the consumer complaint, the Division of Standards inspected the Ruby Tuesday restaurants and found the steaks were short weight. The Division notified the Colorado Inspection and Consumer Services Division, which inspected packages at the packing plant. Their findings confirmed the shortages as found by the Division. After receiving confirmation from Colorado officials of the short-weight packages at the packing plant, the Division issued fines for the short-weight packages shipped to the restaurants.

The Division of Standards visited Ruby Tuesdays in Swansea, where packages of seven-ounce and nine-ounce sirloins were short weight; Taunton, where packages of 12-ounce rib-eyes were underweight; Worcester, where seven- and nine-ounce sirloins were short weight; Springfield, where small lots of seven- and nine-ounce sirloins were short; and Attleboro, where seven- and nine-ounce sirloins were underweight.

"This was a coordinated effort with our colleagues in Colorado to get to the root of this problem with the distributor of the steaks," said Charles Carroll, the Director of the Division of Standards. "Diners shouldn't be paying prices for a certain sized meal and getting small portions."

The Division of Standards plans on expanding its inspections in the future, checking the weights of beef in other chain restaurants in the future. The Division is part of the Patrick Administration's Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. It enforces laws, rules and regulations relating to weights and measures, and the use of weights of measuring devices in commercial transactions. For more on the Division, click here. Consumers can reach the Division at (617) 727-3480.