It’s been a bad month for Whole Foods, America’s favorite organic grocery chain. First it was slapped on the wrist for maggots in meat cases, then today the company took the worst hit to its stock in seven years.
A San Francisco Whole Foods Market came under fire in late April when an employee said that he reportedly found 40 dead maggots inside the meat case at the store.
“I can actually see maggots underneath the plastic right near the meat that I was selling inside the case,” meat clerk Marc Melancon told KRON 4, the local news station.
The store initially told The Health Department that only one dead maggot had been found, and the store has been cleaned four times since then.
“We are in full cooperation and compliance with the Health Department, which visited Noe Valley on April 25, found no maggots or flies, and had no issue with us continuing to operate,” a Whole Foods representative told The Daily Meal. “We have high quality sanitation and food safety standards. Our top priority is to ensure this issue does not happen again.”
Officials said there was never any real health risk, but the same may not be true for the Whole Foods chain itself. With its stock falling more than 21 percent in early trading before recovering slightly to close down at almost a 19 percent loss, it represents the worst financial day for the supermarket chain since November 2006. Whole Foods, according to Market Watch, has actually had a pretty mediocre year so far. Some are blaming encroaching competition from companies like Wal-Mart, announcing a new focus on organic foods.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi