The Food and Drug Administration has issued a stern warning letter to Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market after a series of recalls involving allergens that the upscale grocery chain failed to disclose on ingredient labels.
Whole Foods has recalled more than 30 food products because of undisclosed allergens in the last year alone, the agency announced Tuesday, and there were similar patterns of recalls in previous years.
"These recalls demonstrate that your corporation engaged in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale misbranded food products," FDA said in the warning letter, dated Dec. 16.
The letter gave the company 15 days to respond with its plans for preventing future recalls.
"You are responsible for investigating and determining the causes of the violations identified above and for preventing their recurrence or the occurrence of other violations. It is your responsibility to ensure your firm complies with all requirements of federal law and implementing regulations," the letter said.
The letter highlights recalls in which milk, eggs and almonds were not disclosed.
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The company gave varying reasons for the mistakes. In one case, the company said its "contract manufacturer packaged a Butter Cookies & Sweet Cream Italian Gelato product with the incorrect Raspberry Cheesecake Italian Gelato label," according to the FDA letter. In the case of a minestrone soup product, the company said an internal labeling system had not been updated to reflect the current ingredient list.
The company said in a statement to Agri-Pulse Tuesday, “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. We remain committed to maintaining the highest quality standards in the industry.”
Photo by Whole Foods Market.
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