Food Safety Audits Needed to Sell at Whole Foods

Saro Loucks

Saro Loucks

November 2, 2022

FSMA, food safety, culture, FDA

Whole Foods grocery stores seem to be everywhere now. It’s no wonder most vendors want their food products to be sold at Whole Foods. Whole Foods is known for carrying high-quality food products and they want their vendors to supply their stores with safe food as well. 

So, what food safety requirements do you need to fulfill before Whole Foods carries your products?

Whole Foods requires its suppliers to schedule, obtain and pass a third-party food safety audit from one of their approved audit vendors before a food item will be stocked on their shelves. These audits must be conducted yearly and within a 30-day period before or after the renewal date. If there are items on the audit that need to be corrected the food supplier must correct them and then provide copies of the audit, and the corrective action to Whole Foods. 

If the supplier fails the audit even after corrections are performed, a re-audit must be conducted within 90 days after the renewal date. The results and corrections then must be shared with Whole Foods. 

What types of food safety audits are accepted?

Well, that depends on what your product is.

Produce like packaged sprouts which are a high-risk food require a few certifications which include a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) audit with a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan or a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification. Microgreens and wheat grass require either a GMP certification with a HACCP plan and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) or a GFSI certification. Growers have different requirements.

Your own branded product needs a GMP or GFSI certification, this also applies to meat and seafood and also WFM (Whole Foods Market) branded foods. If your product is chosen to be one of Whole Foods’s exclusive brands, a GFSI certification is required. 

Whole Foods also has a slew of quality standards they want their suppliers to follow. This includes but is not limited to certain ingredients which are not allowed due to the impact they have on people’s health, meat can only come from animals that have never received antibiotics, and seafood and fish that wild caught and sustainable or from farming that does not impact the environment. is a food safety software and consulting company. Our software has a HACCP builder, food traceability, you can create your own checklists to manage your HACCP plan or track other items, ingredients, tasks, or events. With our Enterprise program you will have access to food safety quality assurance professionals who can help you with GFSI, SQF, GMP, SOP, BRC, CGMP, HACCP, gap analysis, or prepare for audits like the Costco audit, the Whole Foods audit, Publix audit, Kroger audit, Safeway audit, Meier audit, HEB audit and more.

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