The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a stern warning to Whole Foods Market following a series of recalls involving misbranded foods with labels that failed to disclose allergens. This warning is a first for the FDA; never before has the agency issued a warning to a retailer for receiving and selling misbranded food products with undeclared allergens.
In the last year, more than 30 Whole Foods food products after major food allergens were not listed on labels as required. Milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soybeans are all required to be labeled to protect people with food allergies.
According to the FDA, large numbers of similar recalls were issued for products sold by Whole Foods in recent years. Most of these foods have been sold under the Whole Foods private label in the bakery or deli areas of stores nationwide.
Millions of Americans suffer from food allergies, some of which can be deadly for those who inadvertently eat foods that trigger a severe allergic reaction.
According to the FDA, “Undeclared food allergens are the number one leading cause of Class I food recalls for at least the last three years.” The FDA has implemented a new process to help distributors and sellers reduce the number of recalls attributed to undeclared food allergens.
In the warning letter, the FDA listed the following recalls as examples:
- Whole Foods Market Minestrone Soup sold in either clear plastic deli‐style containers of various weights, or in clear plastic bags weighing 7 lbs. 12 oz., due to undeclared milk. Whole Foods indicated that the mislabeling occurred because their internal labeling system for the repackaging of food products was not updated to reflect the current ingredient listing for the product.
- Whole Foods Market Raspberry Cheesecake Italian Gelato 1 Pint (473mL) packaged in a clear plastic container, due to undeclared egg. Whole Foods indicated that their contracted manufacturer packaged a Butter Cookies & Sweet Cream Italian Gelato product with the incorrect Raspberry Cheesecake Italian Gelato label thereby causing the product to have the incorrect ingredient declaration and undeclared egg.
- Whole Foods Market White Parkerhouse Rolls NET WT. 0 lb 12 oz (340g) packaged in a clear plastic bag, 12 rolls per bag, due to undeclared milk and eggs. Whole Foods indicated that the mislabeling occurred because retail employees applied a label which did not reflect the ingredient listing on the manufacturer’s label. This caused the product to have undeclared milk and eggs.
- Chantilly Key Lime Tartlets Net Wt 1 oz. individually packaged in plastic clamshell containers with Whole Foods Market scale labels, due to undeclared almonds. Whole Foods indicated that the mislabeling occurred because the ingredient statement, which included almond flour, on the master carton was not fully transferred to the scale label used for the individual containers.
- Whole Foods Market El Trigal 12 Month Old Manchego, El Trigal 6 Month Old Manchego, Mitica Cordobes, Artequeso Manchego 6 month aged raw Raw Milk ‐ Aged 60 days or more, La Marquesa Herb Manchego Raw Milk ‐ Aged 60 days or More, Mitica La Dama Sagrada Raw Milk ‐ Aged 60 Days or More, Chimay Biere, IL FORTETO Genovese Pesto, Chimay Grand Cru, Lactalis MIMOLETTE Aged 12 Months, Mitica Mahon, and Agriform Piave Vecchio, individually sliced cheese wrapped in plastic wrap with scale label on top. Whole Foods indicated that the mislabeling occurred because not all of their regions had updated their scale ingredient statement to include the egg allergen. This caused the product to have undeclared eggs.
Further, the FDA said, “The food industry can and must do better to prevent exposing consumers to incorrectly labeled packaged food which can cause serious and life-threatening harm. Manufacturers should also ensure they have controls in place to prevent the unintentional addition of allergens during manufacturing processes.”
If you or a family member became seriously ill or died due to undeclared food allergies, contact OnderLaw. We hold companies accountable for putting profits over the safety of your family. At OnderLaw, we don’t get paid unless you win your lawsuit, and we will fight for you.
Contact us today. Time is of the essence in these cases. We will review your information and help you understand your options.