• vegan brands pulled from whole foods en masse!

    April 6th, 2010quarrygirlother, products

    UPDATE 4/18/10: i recently received the following email from vegan traders w/ their side of the story. according to them, there was no health department recall. check it out:

    Thank you for your notice about our wonderful vegan foods that were removed from the shelves at Whole Foods. As the owner of Vegan Traders, I must correct one important point that you made in your article. It is easy to see why this mistake was made, since customers have heard from Whole Foods staff that the food was removed due to a Health Dept. recall. In fact it was Whole Foods who decided to remove our food from the shelves, NOT the Health Dept. In our conversations with LA County Dept. of Public Health chiefs Terrance Powell and Angelo Bellomo, they deny any kind of recall or conversation with Whole Foods at that point. They later notified Whole Foods that their investigation of Vegan Traders was completed and we were clear to do business. The recall by Whole Foods was actually an internal decision triggered by a letter I sent to all stores explaining that we were being audited and therefore would not deliver that day (March 26).

    Please note that all these foods are still available through all our other customer stores. As the sole distributor of these products in Southern California, I hope your readers will seek the products at the numerous independent stores who respect and appreciate our services, and continue to happily sell all the products Whole Foods was carrying and more.

    Although Vegan Traders was approved by Whole Foods as a distributor and brought these companies to the shelves, one buyer, one store, one item at a time, over almost two years, Whole Foods insists that now Vegan Traders has no standing. Thus far all the companies remain loyal to Vegan Traders in the hopes that through public pressure and further negotiation with Whole Foods, the decision will be reversed. This decision by Whole Foods to eliminate Vegan Traders and our partner companies from its stores is a puzzling one for everyone.

    original post:

    due to some health inspection dramz, and a fundamentally flawed system, it appears as though loads of our favorite packaged vegan and raw foods are now missing from whole foods.

    apparently, several brands have been distributed to whole foods by a company called vegan traders, which has recently been cited with a health violation. now although these companies never cooked food out of the vegan traders kitchen, nor did they have anything to do with the violation, they are being thrown off the shelves of all whole foods! THIS IS AWFUL! just to name a few—lydia’s organics, michelle’s naturally, rawk-n-roll cuisne, euphoria loves rawvolution, kookie karma, rahel vegan ethiopian, cru, and tomberlies have all been affected.

    we received the following from an anonymous source:

    “There is a terrible situation going on with the L.A. County Health Department that concerns many brands of health food. Recently Vegan Traders was shut down by the health dept for operating out of a shared kitchen. They moved facilities, and the following week, the L.A. County Health Department forced Whole Foods to pull EVERY brand of food Vegan Traders had been carrying from the shelves of every Whole Foods in the 4-state Southern Pacific region. They are not allowed to consider restocking the brands until after the health department releases a report to Whole Foods on Vegan Traders and all their brands, and gives specific instructions on how to move forward with each brand. The issue is mainly that no one who HAD BEEN carried by them is allowed to be at Whole Foods now without them, because of the health dept. Food that never crossed VT’s path isn’t allowed in, and that makes no sense. The health department of L.A. County certainly holds no jurisdiction in Arizona or other state included in the S.P. region of Whole Foods, yet they ordered WF to pull the products from all the shelves, regardless of whether or not there was any problem with any particular brand.”

    it seems like this health code violation has claimed victims that are completely undeserving. and by victims i mean YOU, ME, and the companies who make these awesome products. we are ALL losing out. since this info did come from a tipster, i stopped by whole foods last night and sure enough, all the products listed were gone.

    it’s a shame, because i am really gonna miss those rahel ethiopian wraps (pictured above)…and also the rawk-n-roll notchos. these cheesy little pieces of kale are seriously as addictive as crack:

    while most of these products are available at other places around town like erewhon, the santa monica co-op, or locali, not being able to buy them at whole foods is a huge bummer. let’s hope the health department and vegan traders get this shit resolved ASAP. until then, seek out your favorite products at other locations…and maybe bug whole foods a little about getting them back in stock!


22 responses to “vegan brands pulled from whole foods en masse!” RSS icon

  • Oh no, I practically live off those Rahel wraps! This is such bad news!

  • Wow, your WF has (had) WAY better vegan options than the East Coast WF.

  • i love injera and red lentils. I did not know whole foods sold these items. I have to check out their prepackaged goodies the next time I go food shopping.

  • I can see myself stockpiling Cru cakes.

  • What did Vegan Traders do that was so bad? Must have been a serious violation. Does anybody know who they are or a legal name for them? We can look up the issue on the LA health dept. site?

  • This is bullshit corporatocracy at its finest. I believe, it’s the result of internal fighting of the Health Department. There is a group that feels the health codes should be re-written to allow for shared kitchens (because technically it is against the law) and has been working with small vendors and kitchens to do this. And then, there is a group that thinks shared kitchens should be shut down and all the businesses that use them forced to get their own individual kitchens… of course, giving more revenue and work to the health department.

    Sorry for my run-on sentence rant, but as a person trying to start up a baking business this really gets under my skin.

    They are playing out their internal fight, in public, and it is hurting those of us that want good food.

  • I actually have more info. on this Quar. Hit me up…

  • Shucks! I hope this changes soon.

  • Oh man, that is awful!

  • I was just at Follow Your Heart to pick up a Reuben….They still have the Rahel Ethiopian Wraps for sale. I told a friend who works there about the Whole Foods thing and they were surprised. He asked their buyer and he was not aware of the recall ether. I then told them to go to this site and check it out.

  • all the more reason to shop at FYH, Co-Opportunity and Erewhon !

  • You can always find these yummy products at Nature Mart in Los Feliz. No one should be without Notchos!!!!

  • There are so many glaring flaws with the health dept. situation in LA (and other cities, too, I’m sure). It’s very hard to find out what the various laws and fees are, and like Shelley said, even that isn’t always enough because there are different viewpoints, and you’re often given incorrect information about what’s legal. It’s pretty frustrating as a small business owner, and also as a consumer.

  • It’s really interesting to see just how far an agency will go to keep health food and natural living foods from people. I hope people will be proactive and complain to evryone they could possible complain to. Corporate, LA County Health Department, etc!!!!

  • i think that this is out of date: my co-op up in SB uses vegan traders. they were closed for a little while, but we’ve been getting deliveries for a while. though whole foods’ insurance did also make them stop selling organic raw milk, so maybe it’s just insurance clamping down? in any case, since they are delivering again (and going against the health dept. isn’t something most people trying to stay in business fuck around with), i’d say that everything is okay with vegan traders themselves. it’s the corporate oversight of whole foods that is creating this problem.

  • The closest Whole Foods is about 30 minutes away from me so I don’t go there too often. I’ve gotten a lot of those brands at Full O’ Life in Burbank so I’ll have to double check for them next time.

  • I never could find those Ethiopian wraps.

  • Looks like I’ll be making the extra trek to Erewhon for now. Seriously those lentil wraps and the whole Rawk-n-Roll line were my fave things ever.

  • I believe that this has something to do with the implementation of “CODEX ALIMENTARIOUS” recently made law 1-1-2010. I had heard that this would affect herbal and vitamin supplements and other natural foods. It’s begun…

  • So, vegan traders (and you are a lawyer who wrote that email) did you or did you not have a health department problem?

  • I haven’t seen the Sweet & Sara Vegan marshmallows at the WF in Venice forever. When I ask for them nobody seems to know what I’m talking about. I think WF should train their staff on vegan food and know what is and isn’t. Give them a cheat sheet or something.

  • Yuuup. WFM knows nothing about vegans. Trust me; I used to work there. After I quit, I called to ask if they had vegan marshmallows. They assured me they did, and I double-and-triple asked, even went so far as to say “are you sure they aren’t just kosher marshmallows?” the guy insisted they were vegan, I assumed they must have gotten them in stock since I worked there, went to the store… nope. They were indeed kosher, which means no gelatin but yes isinglass. Found a local natural foods store a city over that had them, and actually knew what vegan was. Honestly, with the kind of corporate practices they have (stripping independent natural stores of unions and rights, their b.s. “health care” plan, notoriously low wages, etc) I find it frustrating that a lot of vegans support them as if they invented the lifestyle.

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