FDA Warns Whole Foods for 'Serious Violations' at Food Manufacturing Facility

The grocer must take steps to correct the facility's issues.

In particular, the letter was concerned with condensate dripping from ceiling joints over uncovered, "ready to eat" foods, as well as issues with employee handwashing, higher than recommended peracetic acid levels in faucets for washing vegetables, and soiled dishes and equipment.

"On February 16, 2016, your employee’s unprotected upper sleeves were frequently touching ready to eat leafy salad greens as leafy salad greens were packaged into retail packs in the Pre-Pack Room," the letter states.

The FDA acknowledged that Whole Foods responded to the FDA's inspection observations in February and that "senior leadership is committed to take all the necessary measures to correct all the deficiencies." However, the FDA did not consider that response acceptable.

"FDA has serious concerns that our investigators found your firm operating under these conditions. Further, your response includes retraining of employees as a corrective action for most of the observed violations but you failed to mention adequate supervision over your specialized food processing operations and how retraining will ensure sustained compliance," the letter states.

"Whole Foods Market has addressed and corrected each of the issues identified in the FDA 483 Warning Letter issued in February," reads a statement from Whole Foods to ABC News. "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."

“We were honestly surprised,” said Ken Meyer, global 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.”

Whole Foods has 15 days to notify the FDA in writing of the specific solutions they are proposing to the violations, according to the FDA's letter. Additionally, Whole Foods may have to pay the costs of any necessary re-inspection.