FDA slams Whole Foods for 'serious' food safety violations

The Food and Drug Administration says it found “serious violations” at one of Whole Foods’ central food preparation facilities in Massachusetts during an inspection in February.

The FDA said inspectors found items, including pesto pasta, mushroom quesadillas, egg salad and couscous, in areas where “condensate” was leaking from the ceiling, a doorway, and a condenser fan.

Inspectors also noted that employees splashed dirty water on uncovered vegetables and utensils, failed to wash their hands before handling food, and exposed cleaning liquids to food.

In one case, inspectors saw an employee spray an ammonium-based sanitizer on “an open colander of salad leafy greens.”

The FDA sent a warning letter to Whole Foods following the inspection, and the agency said Whole Foods responded by expressing its commitment to taking all the necessary measures to correct all the deficiencies.

But the FDA now says it’s not satisfied with Whole Foods’ response.

“FDA has serious concerns that our investigators found your firm operating under these conditions,” the June 8 letter states. “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.”

The agency said it wants Whole Foods to submit documentation like photographs, invoices, and work orders to prove that it has remedied the issues that its inspectors found.

Whole Foods did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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