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Whole Foods Execs Surprised By FDA Warning Letter: 'We've Already Addressed The Problems'

Jun 16, 2016 11:25AM ● By Bill Gilman
Executives of Whole Foods Market say they were shocked to receive a warning letter from the FDA earlier this month, regarding unsanitary conditions at their Everett Kitchen.
Several health violations were discovered during FDA inspections back in February. A spokesman said the company was notified of the problems right away and that the issues have already been addressed and corrected.
"We were honestly surprised,” said Ken Meyer, executive vice president of operations for Whole Foods Market. “We’ve been in close contact with the FDA, opened our doors to inspectors regularly since February and worked with them to address every issue brought to our attention.”
According to Meyer, the company received an initial warning letter back in February. The letter outlined violations at the North Atlantic Kitchen in Everett, a facility that serves 74 stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Northern New Jersey. 
Whole Foods has stores near Tewksbury in Andover and Bedford.

Some of the violations listed in the letter were :

-- Condensate from ceiling joints dripping onto work surfaces below.

-- An employee spraying sanitizer on work surfaces near a coworker preparing food, resulting in the "sanitizer being sprayed onto an open colander of salad leafy greens." 

-- Employees not washing hands or changing gloves in between tasks.

In its letter, dated June 8, the FDA said Whole Foods had failed to provide sufficient information to investigators and failed to take sufficient action to fix the problems. The FDA gave Whole Foods Market 15 days from its receipt of the letter to specify what the company has done to correct the violations.
Meyer said the FDA has ignored the actions taken by the company to rectify the problems.
"The thorough and tangible steps that were taken in the North Atlantic Kitchen to address each of these points were not reflected in the FDA's follow-up letter and we have contacted them to discuss the matter," he said.

RELATED STORY:
Report: FDA Issues Warning To Whole Foods Over Unsanitary Kitchen Conditions
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