Over the weekend, Smiling Hara tempeh, a local company impacted by a salmonella-tainted starter culture from Maryland, announced that Whole Foods Markets has decided to continue carrying Smiling Hara products. Whole Foods announced the decision to carry the tempeh in regional stores earlier this year, also offering the fledgling tempeh company a substantial development grant.
Smiling Hara has also announced intentions to re-evaluate safety protocol. Here’s the press release:
“Thank you everyone for all of the support you have given us. It is because of your support that Smiling Hara will continue. This has been an extremely challenging time for us and we wish to continue serving the Asheville community and being a part of this powerful local food movement.
We are taking this opportunity to re-evaluate every aspect of our production to ensure safety and quality in our tempeh. We intend to allow this process all the time necessary. We hold integrity as our highest priority and it is important to us that we know when we return, we have your complete confidence. Whole Foods Market has decided to stand by Smiling Hara Tempeh as well, so once we are back up and running, we will once again be available region-wide.
We truly believe that we have a very special product and, judging by our feedback, we believe you agree. It has been our honor and privilege to serve you for the past two and a half years, and it is our wish to continue doing so for years to come.
The level of enthusiasm and loyalty from the community has been deeply moving, and inspires us to keep this dream alive and make it the best it can possibly be. We love Asheville. It is the high level of awareness and integrity of the people who live here that makes it so special. We stand behind Smiling Hara, as you do, with all of our hearts. Thank you all so much for reminding us why we are here.
We are working day and night and will let you know as soon as we do when our products will be available again. You can visit our website www.smilinghara.com for updates and information.