Whole Foods has been in a “whole” lot of trouble lately. Repeated public relations issues have the company struggling to fight back as sales fall and the once-impervious wall of faithful shoppers has begun to crumble. Enter another potential crack in the foundation of upscale grocery dominance.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Whole Foods detailing “serious violations” found during an inspection of a particular food prep plant used by Whole Foods. The letter listed multiple violations including issues with sanitation and various different food prep no-nos.
FDA Demands Better Sanitation and Food Prep Practices
According to an article in CNN, the issue started way back in March, when Whole Foods received an initial communication from the FDA. The grocer responded it would take steps to clean up its act. Now, months later, it appears the FDA has reason to doubt that proper steps were taken.
They responded to Whole Foods’ promise to make good with a summary dismissal, basically telling the company to put up, shut up, or close up.
Even if Whole Foods did take the right actions, their failure to prove that casts doubt and a single sliver of doubt is all that’s needed to create a barnstorming PR crisis in today’s age of social media.
This is all haters of Whole Foods need to continue to pile on the beleaguered brand. Just the idea that the “freshest and healthiest” grocery chain is ignoring the FDA is enough to spark an angry mob ready to kick the company when it’s down.
Whole Foods Stock Tumbles in Aftermath of FDA Demands
At least, that seems to be what investors think. Stock fell (again), this time, down 2.5 percent, putting the company officially in the red. This is on top of last year’s precipitous plummet of 35 percent, and that drop came after a ten percent fall in 2014. So, in the past two and a half years, company stock has fallen by nearly half.
The bleeding started when the company was accused of price gouging. Just as it had begun to pull out of that tailspin, the first inklings of health issues cropped up. Those reports kept the FDA sniffing around. Now, before the brand had any chance to recover, there are more.
Like a punch drunk boxer stuck in his corner and unable to mount any kind of defense, Whole Foods is taking PR punch after PR punch. If they don’t recover soon, they could go down for the count.