Friday, August 8, 2008

Wholly irresponsible

Whole Foods sold some ground beef that made some people ill. Very ill. And on August 6, Whole Foods pulled all shipments of that ground beef, but didn’t tell the public what they knew. Apparently Whole Foods didn’t even tell their own stores what they knew. Until August 8, when the Massachusetts Department of Public Health started warning the public not to eat any ground beef that had been purchased from Whole Foods between June 2 and August 6.

The store management at our local Whole Foods deflected all questions to the regional headquarters, which isn’t answering the phone or returning calls. And as of this afternoon, they still aren’t posting notices in the meat department or at the entrances and exits.

A recall like this is no fun. A lot of people will throw away food that isn’t in the recall, a lot of people will avoid the Whole Foods meat cases entirely, a lot of people will have a lot of questions and complaints that have no answers yet. And a lot of people will no longer trust Whole Foods, because Whole Foods doesn’t care enough about the safety of their customers to take simple steps to inform them that, oh, by the way, the ground beef that Whole Foods sold you recently could land you in the hospital, as it’s already done to at least 5 other people.

I think Whole Foods has a choice to make: this can be a learning experience for Whole Foods so they don’t hide information from their customers next time, or this can be a learning experience for a whole lot of Whole Foods customers.

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