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by | Jan 11, 2021 | Firm News

Whole Foods is one of the largest food retailers in the United States. It is widely known for its emphasis on organic products and ingredients. However, Whole Foods recently came under fire from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for selling food products that, for many, came with an unwelcome surprise: undeclared allergens.

What happened?

On December 16, 2020, the FDA issued an official Warning Letter to Whole Foods for what the FDA described as “a pattern of receiving and offering for sale misbranded food products.” In this letter, the FDA notes that from October 2019 through November 2020, Whole Foods recalled 32 different food products for undeclared allergens—most of which were products sold in the Whole Foods deli and bakery sections.

According to the FDA, a few examples of food products previously sold by Whole Foods with undeclared allergens include:[1]

  • Whole Foods Market Minestrone Soup that contained undeclared milk;
  • Whole Foods Market Raspberry Cheesecake Italian Gelato that contained undeclared eggs;
  • Whole Foods Market White Parkerhouse Rolls that contained undeclared milk and eggs; and
  • Chantilly Key Lime Tartlets with undeclared almonds.

Why does this matter?

Food allergies affect millions of Americans and their families. According to the FDA, the eight foods identified as major allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans), peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.

Failing to label products as containing these ingredients may lead consumers to unknowingly ingest these allergens, which in certain individuals, can cause serious and life-threatening harm.

Is it common for the FDA to warn retailers like this?

No. The letter is unusual—if not historic—because, according to the FDA, this is the “first time” it has ever “warned a retailer for engaging in a pattern of receiving and offering for sale misbranded food products containing undeclared allergens.”

What if I suffered an allergic reaction from mislabeled food products?

If you or a loved one suffered an allergic reaction causing you to seek medical attention after ingesting mislabeled food and would like to have a free, confidential consultation with an attorney to learn more about your rights and potential legal remedies, please contact Markovits, Stock & DeMarco at (513) 651-3700, email us at [email protected], or submit a Case Evaluation request through the form below.

[1] A full list of the examples identified by the FDA of misbranded products sold by Whole Foods can be found by viewing the FDA’s Warning Letter. The Warning Letter provides additional details identifying the specific units of products affected by the recalls.