Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

May 25, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Envelopes leaking sulfur-smelling liquid cause evacuation

Seattle Fire evacuates Whole Foods at Westlake Avenue and Denny Way Saturday. (Photo by Janet Tu / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Fire evacuates Whole Foods at Westlake Avenue and Denny Way Saturday. (Photo by Janet Tu / The Seattle Times)

The Whole Foods store at the corner of Denny Way and Westlake Avenue was evacuated for a short time Saturday afternoon after employees found two envelopes in public areas of the store leaking liquids that gave off a sulfur smell.

The Seattle Fire Department, which evacuated the store as a precautionary measure, said the substance tested negative for anything hazardous and that the store employees who had handled the envelopes displayed no symptoms.

The fire department did not evacuate stores, restaurants or residences above or near the Whole Foods.

The Seattle Police Department, which will now handle the investigation, had not determined as of Saturday afternoon what the substance was.

But there was something written on the envelope “that caused us concern,” said Lt. Greg Sackman with Seattle Police. He said he couldn’t disclose what those things were because the investigation is ongoing.

Joe Rogoff, regional president of Whole Foods, said he hadn’t read the envelopes but that he assumed the incident might be connected to a demonstration Saturday against seed giant Monsanto. Protests against Monsanto were scheduled to be held in hundreds of cities across the world Saturday, with organizers saying that the intent was to call attention to the dangers posed by genetically modified food and the companies that produce it. In Seattle, the protest included a march from Westlake Park to the Gates Foundation near the Seattle Center.

If the demonstration and suspicious envelopes are connected, Rogoff said, leaving the envelopes in the store was a “misguided” effort given that some Whole Foods employees and shoppers likely share the same concerns about genetically modified foods as the demonstrators. Whole Foods has committed to labeling all its foods containing genetically modified ingredients by 2018, he said.

Lt. Sackman would not comment on whether there was a connection between the demonstration and the envelopes.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►