Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog




Nate says ...
Following the trail is vital. If you want to be in business selling organic and other "natural" products, you must know where the food you are selling comes from and everything about it! I believe at least WF claims this was their process, and it should be for a company doing this business at that size. But, any person in this industry is asking to be held to the highest standard by labeling their store as being "better" or more "natural" than the others. You can't market yourself that way, then say "woops" when something happens that shows you can't stand behind products you sell.
02/15/2009 9:27:04 AM CST
paig292 says ...
@KimK: Peanut oil has not been listed by the FDA as a product made by PCA and we haven't seen anything else to date that indicates it as being a concern with this recall.
02/16/2009 8:59:55 AM CST
paig292 says ...
@Nate and others: I just want you all to know that I am gathering your comments and questions to assist our quality assurance team in reviewing all aspects of how we handled this food safety crisis -- including communication with our customers about our processes. We do have processes in place for tracing our food sources and I believe your feedback will be taken into account as they review those processes in the coming weeks. But right now they are focused on the health of our customers and managing the food safety recalls. As soon as I have some information from them in response to your concerns about process, I'll let you know. I just didn't want you to think that your comments were being ignored. Also, just a quick reminder that we have comment posting guidelines http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/comment-posting-guidelines/ listing "no personal attacks" and "no flaming." Please keep your comments civil so they can be posted. Thanks!
02/16/2009 9:12:12 AM CST
paig292 says ...
To those of you who have been waiting for answers to your questions, thank you for your understanding and patience. While we certainly don’t have answers to everything at this point, here is what our leadership says at this time: At Whole Foods Market, we share our customers’ concern and dismay over the food safety compliance issues that the FDA and other agencies have discovered at PCA’s peanut processing facilities. With more than 2,100 products recalled nationwide, we are thankful that the impact on products sold in our stores has been more limited in scope. As you may know, to date none of our 365 Private Label products have been affected by this recall. We expect our suppliers to conduct business in a certain manner and we are determined to work with our product manufacturers to address problems that this PCA recall brings to light. While we go about making changes, it is important to note that PCA is facing federal criminal charges for their actions, which include not sharing negative lab results with the manufacturers who bought their products. Their actions affected many vendors, large and small, as well as consumers who became ill. The solution for this must come from a large government and industry effort to ensure the safety of our food supply. In addition to recalled products from third-party suppliers that we sell in our stores, we are concerned about some of the bulk products we provided to our customers that came directly or indirectly from PCA facilities. (These products have been removed from our shelves or recalled.) We always expect our suppliers to conduct business in compliance with all laws and to follow all regulatory procedures. Now, however, we are revising our policies and procedures around bulk products, both prepacked and bin items. We are actively working with our suppliers to establish more stringent protocols for these products. Due to the empowerment of our stores for local and regional buying, our supply chain is very diverse. While we take great pride in the fact that our stores carry local products and go above and beyond to try to meet our customers’ needs, it is a bit unwieldy when one of the largest recalls in U.S. history comes knocking at the door. With a nationalized supply chain, we could have more visibility into what each store had in stock that was affected — because every single store would have the exact same products. But we think the trade-off in doing that wouldn’t allow us to be the company our customers and team members want us to be. So, we will continue to offer local buying but we will also work to put systems in place to help monitor our vendors more closely. We will also continue to work closely with the suppliers whose products we carry, as well as federal and local government agencies, to learn more about this crisis and work together to prevent recurrences. And while we in no way defend PCA or their actions, we do want to clarify a couple of issues. PCA was not considered a “bargain house” in the supply chain. There are varying grades of nuts and we provided top grade nuts in our stores. While other stores may have also carried PCA nuts, if they cost substantially less than ours, they most likely were a different grade of nut. Also, PCA was certified to the USDA’s National Organic Standards by Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA), a third-party organic certifier approved by the USDA. The standard requires that the facility prevent commingling between organic and conventional products, that organic products are protected from contamination with synthetic substances, and that the suppliers to the facility are also certified. The standard also requires that all lines are fully cleaned between conventional and organic production. Many facilities process organic and conventional products, and it is the responsibility of the organic certifier to confirm they have processes in place to ensure the products are not commingled. We hope this helps answer some of your questions. Please know that we are continually working on this issue and developing ideas on how to better serve you, our customers.
02/19/2009 1:53:29 PM CST
Rachel says ...
@Linda and @Paige Brady - Despite the Manufacturer's Website claiming that Masa's gourmet Thai Peanut Sauce would not be affected by the Peanut Butter Recall, I really think that had to have something to do with it. I can't think of what else could explain why, since around this time, I have stopped being able to find it ANYWHERE. I used to buy a ton of it from my local Ralph's (in the Los Angeles - West Hollywood - area), even from Bristol Farms, but now, I can find this flavor NO WHERE. I see other Masa's gourmet sauces on the shelves but NEVER this one. I literally look in every grocery and specialty store I walk into, because this one is my absolute favorite - I love cooking with it and have not been able to find a substitute by another brand that I love as much. I am going to order it now from Rikki Rikki's Website directly - wish me luck! I really wish it would come back to stores :(
09/22/2010 1:12:00 PM CDT