Whole Foods Receives FDA Warning Letter Citing Serious Violations

A letter dated June 8, 2016 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was sent to Whole Foods Co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb after a February inspection revealed some alarming violations. The Whole Foods food preparation facility in Everett, Massachusetts was the location under scrutiny.

In a warning letter, the FDA told it saw ready-to-eat pesto pasta being mixed in an area of the room where condensation from ceiling joints was dripping onto the surface beneath it. Another worker’s “unprotected upper sleeves were frequently touching” salad greens as they were being packaged, according to CNN.

The agency also observed an employee assembling bulk cartons and packaging quinoa cakes without washing hands or changing gloves between tasks. The “FDA has serious concerns that our investigators found your firm operating under these conditions” the agency wrote in the June 8th letter.

In February, during several inspections, the FDA found listeria and other serious food-safety violations. The Massachusetts facility provides prepared foods and other products to dozens of Whole Foods stores in the Northeast, noted Bloomberg.

The FDA inspector cited many other violation including failure to sanitize food prep surfaces, dirty dishes near food, sinks without hot water for hand-washing and a worker who sprayed an ammonium-based sanitizer on “an open colander of salad leafy greens.”

Shares of Whole Foods fell more than 2.5 percent on Tuesday. The stock fell more than 10 percent in 2014 due to increased concerns about slowing sales. Whole Foods plunged nearly 35 percent in 2015 following accusations that it overcharged customers, and the perception that its products are seriously overpriced, CNN reports.

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