Kroger’s efforts in food safety review audits, consumer education, recall notification systems and Global Food Safety Initiative audit implementation throughout corporate brands makes it this year’s Black Pearl Award for Food Safety honoree.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based International Association for Food Protection honors one company each year for “efforts to advance food safety through quality consumer programs, employee relations, educational activities, adherence to standards and support of the goals and objectives” of the organization.

“Food safety is Kroger’s top priority,” said David Dillon, chairman and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati-based retailer, in a news release. “Kroger’s focus on food safety is a natural extension of our Customer 1st strategy, which engages all of our employees — in every store, plant, distribution center and office — around one common purpose, to serve the customer first in every decision we make.”

Information about Kroger’s food safety initiatives is in its 2011 Sustainability Report, at