Whole Foods stock plunged 5% after the FDA issued a warning for “serious violations” at a food-prep facility in Massachusetts.
Those violations included a positive swab for Listeria on a vegetable chopping machine, and food prepared under “insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth.”
The FDA also saw…
- Ammonia-based sanitizer being sprayed onto an open colander of salad leafy greens
- Condensation dripping onto pesto pasta, mushroom quesadillas, and egg salad “dripping at a rate of approximately once per second”
- Employees not washing their hands while packing quinoa cakes
- Dirty dishes and equipment soaking with inadequate sanitizer
In October 2015, Whole Foods recalled products made at the facility due to possible contamination with Listeria, including Curry Chicken Salad and Classic Deli Pasta Salad.
It appears those issues were not entirely resolved. The FDA said the company never provided evidence of corrective action. Furthermore, another swab tested positive for Listeria, proving it is still growing in the facility.
Whole Foods said it was “honestly surprised” and they have corrected all of the issues identified by the FDA.
Listeria is very hard to eradicate from a facility. Just a few cells on equipment surfaces can detach and multiply in food products, posing a significant health risk.
Listeria is not killed by many disinfectants, grows in the refrigerator, and survives freezing — which makes it extremely dangerous in pre-made foods that are eaten uncooked.
Pregnant women who are infected often suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth. Healthy adults can get severe food poisoning that causes meningitis.
The 70,000-square foot facility — Whole Foods North Atlantic Kitchen — supplies prepared foods to 74 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey.
Source: Yahoo Finance