Tags: fda | whole foods | north atlantic kitchen

FDA: Whole Foods' Food Prep Factory Warned Over Poor Conditions

Image: FDA: Whole Foods' Food Prep Factory Warned Over Poor Conditions
A sign is posted in front of a Whole Foods store February 17, 2010 in San Rafael, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 01:02 PM

The FDA sent Whole Foods Market a warning letter last week, outlining repeated serious violations at its North Atlantic Kitchen in February where food appeared to be "prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions."

The Food and Drug Administration letter, dated June 8, said the facility, located in Everett, Massachusetts, failed on 14 occasions to manufacture, package, and store foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination.

The warning letter stated that on Feb. 10, the company failed to maintain equipment in an acceptable condition through cleaning and sanitizing. One swab taken from a machine by FDA inspectors confirmed the presence of non-pathogenic bacteria Listeria welshimeri.

The letter also stated that the facility "failed to sanitize and thoroughly dry, prior to use, food-contact surfaces which have been wet cleaned" on four occasions.

The FDA also pointed out that Whole Foods failed to take proper precautions to protect food and food-contact surfaces from contamination with chemicals, filth, and extraneous materials due to deficiencies in plant design.

The letter stated that the facility failed to keep dirty dishes separate from ready-to-eat products and it failed to use portable divider curtains and semi-permanent divider curtains to segregate areas between the dishwashing room entrance/exit doors and the assembly room where ready-to-eat products are assembled.

The letter added the plant's hand-washing facilities lacked running water of a suitable temperature and failed to properly identify toxic sanitizing agents in a way that it protected against food contamination.
 
Whole Foods, which is based in Austin, Texas, said in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman Tuesday that it was working with the FDA about its concern since it was brought to their attention.

"We were honestly surprised," Ken Meyer, global executive vice president of operations for Whole Foods Market, said in the 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."

The FDA's warning letter acknowledged that Whole Foods responded on March 17 saying it would take care of the problems, but added that it felt the response was lacking.

"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 warning letter stated.

"This documentation may include photographs, invoices, work orders, voluntary destruction records of any affected products, certification of actions performed by contractors, and/or any other useful information that would assist us in evaluating your corrections," the FDA continued.

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The FDA sent Whole Foods Market a warning letter last week, outlining repeated serious violations at its North Atlantic Kitchen in February where food appeared to be "prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions."
fda, whole foods, north atlantic kitchen
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2016-02-15
Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 01:02 PM
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