Whole Foods has been in the news a lot lately, since opening its millennial offshoot, 365 by Whole Foods, last month in Los Angeles's Silver Lake neighborhood. The store has been well received, a welcome change for a company that's faced mounting criticism as of late. But just when it looked like Whole Foods' fortunes were about to change, news broke that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to the retailer for what it deemed "serious violations."
The infractions were discovered while food safety regulators were inspecting one of the company's Massachusetts food preparation facilities. According to a letter from the FDA to Whole Foods executives, the organization discovered products that were packed and prepared in "insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health."
The inspections occurred between February 10 and February 26, when regulators noticed employees handling food without washing their hands, and handling products in areas where "condensate from ceiling joints was dripping onto the surface below." Analysis of swabs taken from the facility also showed signs of a non-threatening strain of listeria. However, its mere presence indicates a more dangerous strain of listeria was possibly also present.
The letter also suggested that Whole Foods must improve its "environmental monitoring program to verify the adequacy of [its] cleaning and sanitation operation." Meanwhile, Whole Foods claims it has taken the necessary steps to address the violations.
"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."
Eat your groceries on this Terrain Color Dipped Picnic Cutlery Set and let us know if these violations will make you think twice about shopping at Whole Foods.