Whole Foods was slapped with a warning letter
FDA inspectors reportedly found various food products, including mushroom quesadillas, chives, beets and couscous that were exposed in areas where condensation was leaking from ceiling joints, doorways, pipes and fans.
In addition, the FDA cited that Whole Foods employees failed to sanitize food prep stations, did not change gloves or wash hands between tasks and did not take caution to prevent cleaning supply fluid from touching ready-to-eat products
“We were honestly surprised,” Ken Meyer, executive vice president of operations for Whole Foods Market, said in a statement. “We’ve been in close contact with the FDA, opened our doors to inspectors regularly since February and worked with them to address every issue brought to our attention.”
While the company responded to the FDA’s initial “inspection observations” back in March, the FDA said it deemed Whole Foods’ response unacceptable.
“Your response includes retraining of employees as a corrective action for most of the observed violations but you failed to mention adequate supervision over your specialized food processing operations and how retraining will ensure sustained compliance,” the FDA wrote in the warning letter. “We do not consider your response acceptable because you failed to provide documentation for our review, which demonstrates that all your noted corrective actions have been effectively implemented.”
Whole Foods was given 15 days to respond to the FDA after receiving the warning letter. The letter was dated June 8.
The company has faced backlash in recent years due to concerns about slowing sales, health scares and accusations that the grocery chain was overcharging customers. Whole Foods stands to lose even more as rival supermarkets and ready-to-eat companies — think Blue Apron — clutter the category.