Local Whole Foods Prep Kitchen Draws FDA Criticism

According to a letter from the FDA, the Everett facility carried out multiple health violations.

A Whole Foods prep kitchen in Everett has drawn criticism from the FDA, which sent the facility a letter detailing a slew of serious food safety violations carried out on its premises.

Among Whole Foods’ offenses, according to the letter, were evidence of Listeria, a germ that can cause serious food-borne illness; condensation from ceiling pipes falling directly onto food; and an employee accidentally spraying sanitizer onto salad greens. The letter also mentions a number of food storage, food preparation, and cleanliness issues.

“These violations cause the food products manufactured at your facility to be adulterated…in that they were prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health,” the letter reads.

Based on the severity of its infractions, the FDA is giving the facility, called the North Atlantic Kitchen, 15 days from the receipt of the June 8 letter to—literally—clean up its act. The letter’s findings were based on multiple visits to the kitchen in February.

The FDA maintains that a prior response from Whole Foods, in March, failed to properly document corrections that were made—a charge Ken Meyer, Whole Foods’ executive vice president of operations, denies. “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,” he said in a statement.

The warning comes less than a year after a Boston Globe investigation found that, during the past three years, the West End Whole Foods had the most health violations of any grocery store in Boston.

The problem, however, may not be limited to the West End, as the North Atlantic Kitchen serves Whole Foods stores throughout the Northeast. In other words, it can’t hurt to wash your fruits and veggies extra carefully tonight.