Wholesomeness may be the focal point of its brand, but grocery chain Whole Foods has a less-than-ideal track record when it comes to food safety. The company was reprimanded by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month, in a letter claiming the grocer has a pattern of selling mislabeled food products.
The warning letter, addressed to Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey, states that the company has issued more than two dozen recalls due to undeclared food allergens in the last year. The FDA stated this seems to be a pattern of conduct for Whole Foods, which has had a similar number of recalls for the same reason in previous years, too. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)
"These recalls demonstrate that your corporation engaged in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale misbranded food products. For the time period of October 2019 to November 2020, your firm recalled 32 food products due to undeclared allergen(s). We noticed similar patterns of numerous recalls for undeclared allergens in previous years as well," the letter reads, according to Food Safety News.
Grocery products are required to declare all allergens on its product labels under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Currently, the list of allergens includes milk, eggs, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. Some of the food items Whole Foods failed to label properly have included Minestrone soup, Raspberry Cheesecake Italian Gelato, Chantilly Key Lime Tartlets, and Parkerhouse rolls, according to the letter.
FDA is holding Whole Foods responsible for investigating and determining the causes of each violation, as well as ensuring that similar violations are prevented in the future. The grocer has 15 working days to respond to the agency.
A Whole Foods representative told Eat This, Not That! the company remains committed to maintaining the highest quality standards in the industry. "Whole Foods Market takes food safety very seriously. We are working closely with the FDA to ensure all practices and procedures in our stores meet if not exceed food safety requirements," read their statement.
Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest grocery news delivered straight to your inbox.