Whole Foods Plant Under Scrutiny for Poor Practices
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Aug 05, 2016
Whole Foods has long been known as a health foods advocate, which is part of the reason why the results of one of its Boston plant’s inspection are so shocking. According to an article in The New York Times, the results of the plant’s inspection inspired the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to send a letter to the company, with a warning that Whole Foods needs to make changes.
Problems Found in Whole Foods Factory
The health concerns discovered by inspectors at the factory are notable: ammonium-based sanitizer stored next to food products, condensation dripping from the ceiling, and dirty dishes hardly separated from prepared salads. The prepared foods plant is important for the company, which generates nearly 20 percent of its revenue from the sale of these food types – nearly double the profit margin of packaged food sold on shelves.
The Dangers of Health Hazards in Food Preparation
Expert on grocery store operations and marketing, Phil Lempert, told Times reporters that the prepared food crisis with Chipotle last year should have served as a “wake-up call” to all companies in the prepared food industry, including Whole Foods. The company’s failure to maintain safe food preparation standards may be, in part, a result of the economic pressure placed on it – the company is struggling with slower growth, and this is not the first black mark on the company’s record. In fact, just last year Whole Foods received bad publicity for intentionally over-pricing goods based on their weight, and the company voluntarily recalled a curry chicken salad and deli pasta salad last year after a listeria outbreak.
The listeria outbreak highlights the dangers of poor health standards in the food preparation industry; if foods are contaminated with bacteria, dozens of people can be directly affected, with their health on the line. In the most severe of cases, foodborne illnesses can even cause death.
Whole Foods Under Pressure to Make Changes
While a large majority of the company’s prepared foods are prepared by individual stores in house, its Boston plant helps to supplement the demand. According to reports, the company has about two weeks to make significant changes and improve its health and safety standards, and to share evidence of those changes with the FDA.
The health food chain is long time supporter of healthy foods and living, and its prepared foods section has served as the foundation of its message. The fact that prepared foods may not be as safe as intended is certainly disconcerting.
Contact a Product Liability Attorney in Philadelphia
Whole Foods is far from the only offender out there – countless grocery stores have recalled prepared food products after the discovery of bacteria outbreaks. If you contract a foodborne illness, the manufacturer or distributor of that food product may be held liable for any damages you incur. To learn more, contact the experienced Philadelphia product liability attorneys at law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. today for a free case consultation.