Food giant Heinz is a little red faced again this week, after the Shasta County weights and measures office found that numerous bottles of the company's tomato ketchup were short of the 20oz promised on the label.

The results of the investigation came five years after 66-year-old Marcia Baker, who was using the ketchup in a meat loaf recipe, discovered that the bottle was not all it should have been.

Heinz has agreed to pay civil penalties and all investigative costs, which add up to around US$180,000. The company has also been ordered to overfill all ketchup bottles in the California state by 1/8oz, for a whole year. This, say state officials, will cost Heinz about US$650,000.

Company spokesman Michael Mullen commented: "I wish all ketchup consumers were as serious about their Heinz ketchup as [Mrs Baker] is."

This is the latest twist in a saga which came to a head in November when Heinz agreed to "return about 10 million ounces of ketchup to the people," after California district attorneys ruled it had been underfilling millions of ketchup bottles.

To read an earlier story click here.

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