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Bentonville, AR, United States

Crandall P.G.,University of Arkansas | O'Bryan C.A.,University of Arkansas | Peterson R.,Corbion Purac America Inc. | Dyenson N.,Walmart Stores | Yiannas F.,Walmart Stores
Food Control | Year: 2015

The rate of foodborne illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes continues to exceed the Healthy People 2020 goal of 0.2 cases per 100,000 persons. Listeria infections are primarily sporadic, most cases caused by eating contaminated, ready-to-eat (RTE) foods including luncheon meats sliced in retail delis which have been implicated as being responsible for as many as 83% of these illnesses. Listeria specific antimicrobials incorporated in RTE luncheon meats to be sliced in retail delis would lower the risk to consumers by as much as 96%, especially for high-risk consumers. Walmart and Sam's Club stores (Bentonville, AR), large retailers of RTE meats sliced in their delis, have required all their suppliers of bulk RTE meats which could support the growth of Listeria to include a verified inhibitor that will not allow an increase in L.monocytogenes of more than 1 log during the intended shelf-life and storage of the product. We surveyed these suppliers and determined that six of 15 suppliers had not added inhibitors to their bulk luncheon meat for Walmart prior to the 2010 requirement. One supplier reported using inhibitors in 60% of their products prior to Walmart's mandate and now uses Listeria specific inhibitors in 100% of the bulk deli meats it produces, regardless of customer. Three of the five manufacturers who needed to reformulate their products reported additional benefits: the Listeria specific antimicrobials extended their products' shelf life, improved food safety and provided better protection for their customers. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Crandall P.,University of Arkansas | Van Loo E.J.,University of Arkansas | Van Loo E.J.,Ghent University | O'bryan C.A.,University of Arkansas | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Food Protection | Year: 2012

International attention has been focused on minimizing costs that may unnecessarily raise food prices. One important aspect to consider is the redundant and overlapping costs of food safety audits. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has devised benchmarked schemes based on existing international food safety standards for use as a unifying standard accepted by many retailers. The present study was conducted to evaluate the impact of the decision made by Walmart Stores (Bentonville, AR) to require their suppliers to become GFSI compliant. An online survey of 174 retail suppliers was conducted to assess food suppliers' opinions of this requirement and the benefits suppliers realized when they transitioned from their previous food safety systems. The most common reason for becoming GFSI compliant was to meet customers' requirements; thus, supplier implementation of the GFSI standards was not entirely voluntary. Other reasons given for compliance were enhancing food safety and remaining competitive. About 54% of food processing plants using GFSI benchmarked schemes followed the guidelines of Safe Quality Food 2000 and 37% followed those of the British Retail Consortium. At the supplier level, 58% followed Safe Quality Food 2000 and 31% followed the British Retail Consortium. Respondents reported that the certification process took about 10 months. The most common reason for selecting a certain GFSI benchmarked scheme was because it was widely accepted by customers (retailers). Four other common reasons were (i) the standard has a good reputation in the industry, (ii) the standard was recommended by others, (iii) the standard is most often used in the industry, and (iv) the standard was required by one of their customers. Most suppliers agreed that increased safety of their products was required to comply with GFSI benchmarked schemes. They also agreed that the GFSI required a more carefully documented food safety management system, which often required improved company food safety practices and increased employee training. Adoption of a GFSI benchmarked scheme resulted in fewer audits, i.e., one less per year. An educational opportunity exists to acquaint retailers and suppliers worldwide with the benefits of having an internationally recognized certification program such as that recognized by the GFSI. Copyright © International Association for Food Protection.

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