Whole Foods, the grocery store that helped start the organic food revolution, has just received another hit in its long string of recent scandals. Last last week, the Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Whole Foods co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb, claiming preparation facilities are in “serious violation” of FDA health code standards.
Some of the more nasty highlights including workers preparing and storing food in uncovered containers directly below leaky ceiling joints and other areas of condensation, employees not washing hands or changing gloves before handling different types of food, and using ammonium-based sanitizers to clean work surfaces while food is being prepared nearby.
The letter from the FDA also noted that although Whole Foods responded to the FDA’s admonishment back in March by promising they will do better about following the rules, the organic food store did not produce any evidence of retraining their employees or correcting their mistakes as required by the FDA.
The letter ends with a warning, prompting Whole Foods to send the FDA the documentation showing that the violations have been corrected. The letter did not state what the exact punishment would be if Whole Foods does not comply in a timely or appropriate fashion.
This letter comes at a rough time for Whole Woods. Over the last two years, the all-natural food chain's stock has dropped almost 50 percent, but its prices and number of stores are still climbing higher and higher. Although the store targets millennials, most of whom are not exactly loaded when it comes to their bank accounts, it still charges $6 for 16 ounces of water with three sticks of asparagus floating in it.
Whole Foods is most likely losing its business to stores such as Trader Joe’s and even Walmart, which are able to produce organic food for a fraction of the price and usually about the same quality. And after its recent recalls due to a listeria outbreak back in October, its habit of blatantly overcharging for food in major cities, and now this public letter about FDA violations, Whole Foods does seem to be standing out -- just not in a good way.