Whole Foods Recalls Previously Recalled Meat. What?

Whole Foods apparently never got that June memo to chuck Nebraska Beef contaminated with E. coli. The posh-man’s bodega announced yesterday that they are recalling the previously-recalled beef, which Whole Foods sold between June 2 and August 6. The contaminated beef has popped up in 24 states and sickened 49 people. Noted food safety litigator Bill Marler shows us that being a lawyer can be fun by posing six amusingly litigious questions for Whole Foods…

•1) Why was Whole Foods selling meat that was supposed to be recalled?
•2) Why was Whole Foods buying meat from Nebraska Beef Ltd., in the first place?

Whole Foods website is filled with all sorts of promises. Here is one that seemed to be a bit ignored:

Products – Our Quality Standards

We carry natural and organic products because we believe that food in its purest state — unadulterated by artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives — is the best tasting and most nutritious food available.

Our business is to sell the highest quality foods we can find at the most competitive prices possible. We evaluate quality in terms of nutrition, freshness, appearance, and taste. Our search for quality is a never-ending process involving the careful judgment of buyers throughout the company.

Here are some other questions for Whole Foods (after they answer the first two):

  • 1) Were you aware of Nebraska Beef’s litigation history against the USDA in 2003 and a church in upstate Minnesota in 2007?
  • 2) Had you ever reviewed Nebraska Beef’s Non-compliance Reports?
  • 3) Had you ever visited the Nebraska Beef plant?
  • 4) After being linked to an E. coli outbreak in California in 2006, what safety measures did Whole Foods employ?

The bacterial beef was sold in: Alabama, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Washington D. C.

Consumers can return to Whole Foods with a receipt or beef packaging for a full refund. For more information, call (512) 542-0878. While on hold, take a moment to wonder if you ever cook your meat to 160 degrees.

Whole Foods E. coli cases Traced to Nebraska Beef Ltd., Meat? [Marler Blog]
Whole Foods recalling possible E. coli contaminated beef [AP]
PREVIOUSLY: More Beef Recalled For E. Coli
(AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)