FDA slams Whole Foods for 'serious' food safety violations

FDA Sends Warning Letter to Whole Foods

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."

11 ways to save money at Whole Foods:

11 ways to save at whole foods
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11 ways to save at whole foods

Be wary of dairy in glass containers

If you grab milk or cream from a glass bottle, you'll be charged for the price of the bottle in addition to its contents. If you must purchase the glass bottle version of the product, be sure to bring it back to Whole Foods next time you're shopping and customer service will give you a voucher.

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Bring your own bags

Whole Foods will offer you a five to 10 cent discount from your total for bringing your own bag.

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Don’t buy Whole Foods pre-packaged containers of fruits and veggies

You'll end up paying way more and receiving way less. Always opt for the full version of the fruit or vegetable and prepare it yourself.

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Take advantage of bulk meat deals

Deals on bulk amounts of certain meats vary from location to location. Ask the butcher about what bulk meat deals your local Whole Foods is offering.

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Look for bright yellow tags

Special deals (that only last for a few days or a week) are unadvertised outside of the store but can be found while shopping by their bright yellow tags.

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Check out specialty online coupons

You can enter your local Whole Foods store online and print off coupons and deals that are specific to your local Whole Foods--some coupons are valid for up to three months. 

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Buy cases of products you like and save 10 percent

Whether it's protein bars or wine, Whole Foods will discount a case-sized version of your product for 10 percent, a well worth it investment if it's a product your consuming often.

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Shop the Friday-only sales

Stores will offer specialty Friday-only sales that can offer you major one-day savings.

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Shop the Whole Foods 365 value brand

The store's value brand is extremely well-priced and will offer you the healthiest version of discounted products, as there will be a significantly lower amount of preservatives than other discount brands, according to Whole Foods.

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"Like" your local Whole Foods' Facebook page for news on special deals and discounts

Deals will vary from store to store and are always advertised through social media.

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Bring your own containers when shopping the bulk section

When weighing your bulk purchase at checkout, Whole Foods will subtract the price of the weight of your container if you bring your own from home instead of using the ones provided in the store.

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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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