Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

 

53 Comments

Comments

TBRech says ...
I found it, but have not seen any of this new in our local paper, or other media. Cable news also has ignored this recall as far as I can tell. Glad I checked this site to see if there was news about the Merchado location for the new big store!
08/14/2008 3:16:05 PM CDT
David Marks says ...
Really?!! Let's examine the facts. A large commercial enterprise with the reputation for stringent quality control gets word that its biggest supplier of beef has been sold. This doesn't raise any red flags? The company is "surprised" to learn that an unacceptable meat processor has been used? Whole Foods has the "reputation" for going on site to inspect production practices. But they are surprised to learn that the new owners of their biggest meat supplier is using one of the worst production facilities in the nation. There sure are a lot of gullible people out there.
08/14/2008 3:27:41 PM CDT
David Marks says ...
Interesting! You've deleted my comment. It was on topic and not abusive. I guess you really have turned into a big conglomerate with its head in the sand. Smoke and mirrors, that's the ticket! Let's see, you had no knowledge that your biggest beef supplier had changed hands and was using one of the worst processing plants in the country. Speaks worlds about your quality control and oversight.
08/14/2008 4:39:26 PM CDT
hsiaw says ...
@David We did not delete your original comment - all comments are held in moderation the first time anyone posts a comment to the blog, so there is sometimes a little bit of a delay in getting those posted. My apologies you were held up in the queue. It is not our intent to silent anyone's thoughts or opinions and we welcome all of our readers' feedback and thoughts.
08/14/2008 6:40:33 PM CDT
Bix says ...
David Marks makes a good point. If Whole Foods was not negligent ("this event did not occur because we were negligent or slow to react"), and if they stand by their stated practice of "inspection of each producer's operation", how did this happen? Did someone at Whole Foods sign-off on the use of the Nebraska Beef plant? Something doesn't make sense here.
08/15/2008 6:25:34 AM CDT
paig292 says ...
Bix: Edmund addresses your question in the original blog post with this: "In our investigations since this began, we've found out that one of our suppliers, Coleman Natural Beef, for a short time, used an unauthorized processing plant, Nebraska Beef, to process some of the natural beef products it shipped to us this summer. While Coleman's quality standards have always been high, they were recently bought by another company, and ensuing changes apparently lead to confusion about which plants were approved to send products to Whole Foods Market."
08/15/2008 7:00:09 AM CDT
Carol says ...
Something I do not understand is how you can guarantee that your beef, poultry and pork are free of antibiotics and growth hormones when it is processed in a plant that also processes generic meat. I am sensitive to antibiotics and I must avoid all antibiotics so my body can tolerate them when needed for a health crisis. What plant process the organic beef that is occasionally available in the local WF store? Thank you for this blog.
08/15/2008 9:16:29 AM CDT
Paul Mcsharry says ...
I've never really had a problem with Whole Foods products myself. However, I don't eat red meat either so that kind of eliminates the issue for me.
08/16/2008 12:44:22 AM CDT
Tim says ...
I appreciate the effort by Whole Foods management to address this issue forthrightly. I have two observations and questions. 1. I applaud your efforts to ensure that products are handled properly during processing. In fact, I am happy to have the opportunity to pay you for that effort. However, I am surprised that you make no mention of the humans who are processing the products. Do you require your suppliers to certify that no children or improperly compensated workers are processing the products? Do you audit that fact back to the source? 2. I realize the title of this entry is, "The Safety of Meat at Whole Foods Market" but it might be helpful for the Global Vice President of Procurement to also address the issue of "chain of custody" for all foods sold so that even vegans can feel secure in their understanding of how all foods are handled. For example, we are all now aware of the various fruits and vegetables tainted with E. coli The good news is that Whole Foods is a business and ultimately we the consumers can vote with our dollars as I suggest we should with each product we purchase from all vendors.
08/20/2008 9:57:32 PM CDT
paig292 says ...
<p>Sorry to not respond sooner to some of the comments out here. We appreciate everyone who has voiced understanding and support of Whole Foods Market. Thank you! We’ve gathered a few more answers to some specific questions, so here goes.</p> <p><strong>@Amy</strong> We are advising customers: “When in doubt, throw it out.” Customer safety is our priority, so if you have any concerns, we encourage you to contact your local store for a refund. FYI, the FDA says that an internal temperature of 160°F kills e coli, but that can be challenging to measure.</p> <p><strong>@Laura</strong> The frozen grass fed ground beef from New Zealand is not associated with the recall and should be fine for you to use.</p> <p><strong>@Carol</strong> When our meat is processed in plants that also process conventional meat, our meat is processed first thing in the morning before any conventional product is sent through. This is the same way that organic meat is handled – always processed first on clean equipment to eliminate cross-contamination. This process is monitored by the USDA and we also have our 3rd party auditors check the facilities to ensure that the needed processes are in place.</p> <p><strong>@Tim</strong> Please be assured that Whole Foods Market works diligently to comply with all local, state and federal labor laws. We expect our vendors to do the same and to take this issue as seriously as we do. Though we work closely with our vendor partners to offer you products of the highest possible quality, we have no practical or legal authority over their labor practices.</p> <p><strong>Also @Tim</strong> While we don’t want to take the topic too far off by shifting to produce and other areas of food safety, we want to assure you that independent, third-party inspectors perform unannounced monthly audits to assess food handling and safety procedures in each department of every store. Additionally, we have a direct relationship with many of the farmers and suppliers who provide food to our customers. We are proactive in our efforts to monitor the quality standards of food products from their point of origin to store shelves carefully. This “chain of custody” approach helps ensure safety procedures are followed. This issue has always been a priority at Whole Foods Market. </p> <p> Thanks, everyone.</p>
08/22/2008 4:25:27 PM CDT
Martin Thomas says ...
I just read an article in the New York Times about e-coli that discussed the practice of making ground beef from "trimmings" that are even supplied by multiple slaughter houses. Does your ground beef include trimmings and, if so, do the trimmings come from different slaughter houses. Can the consumer buy ground beef made from whole pieces of meet instead of trimmings.
10/04/2009 9:50:08 AM CDT
Max says ...
In the past two months I have had three times that I meat I bought (2 chicken, 1 lamb)went bad within two days of purchase. I live 2 miles from the Mid town Atlanta store and had the meat in the refrigerator within 20 minutes of leaving the store. They have always been nice and given a refund, but there is no excuse for selling meat that is so close to expiration. No matter how natural, antibiotic free, organic it is, spoiled meat is dangerous. I will not buy meat here again.
03/04/2010 3:31:52 PM CST
paig292 says ...
@ Paulina Thanks for your question about animal welfare. Check out this webpage that gives more specifics about our animal welfare program. http://www.letsretakeourplates.com/food/meat.php
06/17/2010 7:22:41 AM CDT
Paulina Bartnik says ...
I would like to know if any of your meat suppliers use the humane slaughter houses designed by Temple Grande? I would like to know where they are and, what are your guidelines in treating cows, pigs, lambs, chickens, turkeys and fish more humanely- especially concerning our current method of raising them factory farming. Your store has mentioned that it gets meat from humane slaughter houses. I wonder if this just sounds good &amp; it is just rhetoric to please the animal rights groups or conscientious consumers. Where is there any proof that you commend by these practices. Is there any certification - labels,inspection practices. Would like to know. Paulina
06/16/2010 10:29:24 PM CDT
Pam says ...
The web link you posted said, "Cage-free eggs are from laying hens that move around freely, exercise and scratch about instead of being confined in a cage." It only says cage free. It does not specify whether or not the hens are raised in windowless warehouses like Tyson chicken farmers use in the movie Food Inc. Are the hens you use for poultry and eggs raised in windowless warehouses?
09/16/2010 1:48:32 AM CDT
paig292 says ...
@Pam While our current standards raise the bar from the industry norm to require that laying hens must be able to move around freely, exercise and scratch about instead of being confined in a cage, this is simply round one in our standards process. A further examination of welfare standards for laying hens is on the docket for the coming year. Animal welfare review and standards implementation is an ongoing process for us. In January we will be implementing a program that will provide animal welfare ratings of five different levels for beef cattle, broiler chickens and pigs in our meat departments. Thank you for your concern and know that we are continually working to improve the living conditions of animals in our food supply.
09/20/2010 3:34:06 PM CDT
Laura says ...
What is included in a sanitation bath for your beef? I can't seem to find any info on it. Thanks!
04/20/2011 2:17:58 PM CDT
modats says ...
Is your meat already washed and ready for cooking or a consumer needs to wash it, then cook?
06/17/2011 10:32:08 AM CDT
bepkom says ...
@Modats: It's ready to cook. However, you can certainly choose to wash it first if you so wish.
06/17/2011 2:25:13 PM CDT
Susan Mapes says ...
I want to know if the beef and pork sold in Whole Foods markets is raised exclusively in the United States or do you buy meat from other countries to sell in your markets? If purchased from United States producers only, does Whole Foods have their own exclusive U.S. producers or do these producers supply other grocery stores as well? If these producers supply other grocery stores, why is Whole Foods meat any better than other grocery stores meat? Thank you for any insight you can provide.
10/27/2011 9:16:06 PM CDT
janejohnson says ...
@Susan I reached out to our Global Meat Buyer, Becky Faudree, and here is her response: "Hello! A majority of the pork for our US stores is raised in the United States; however, one of our awesome Canadian pork suppliers sells to some of our Canadian and US stores. I cannot speak specifically to other grocery stores and if they purchase from our suppliers (as that is not something we push our supplier partners for information on). What I can speak to is that our basic standards and marketing claims are well above conventional stores. We also have very strict food safety standards. Lastly—for pork, beef and chicken—we require a global animal partnership 5-Step animal welfare certification and we are currently the only grocery store requiring that certification." Thanks for reaching out and thank you for your loyalty!
11/04/2011 9:04:54 AM CDT
Bob Julian says ...
I have just become aware that some suppliers are selling "glued meat" to grocery stores and restaurants. What is Whole Foods policy on glued meats? We own Whole Foods stock and look forward to getting a new store in Wilmington, NC. We shop in the Chapel Hill store when we are in the area. Look forward to your response. Bob Julian
01/16/2012 11:17:31 AM CST
janejohnson says ...
@Bob The "glue" is a non-natural component. Our meat standards allow for NO additives and our store standards allow for no artificial ingredients ever. SO... thanks for reaching out and we'd like to assure you that Whole Foods Market uses NO meat glue ever.
01/23/2012 12:06:36 PM CST
Christine Perry says ...
Yes, it is true, buying meat, particularly beef, is a matter of a great problem, I buy beef only in a trusted place that I have been a customer of for long years, and it is Whole Foods Market.
03/30/2012 9:12:16 AM CDT
Cece says ...
Does Whole Foods sell processed meat?
08/28/2012 10:54:40 AM CDT

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