Although Costco Wholesale Corp. has begun requiring finished product testing of pathogens for fresh produce, two of the nation’s largest grocery retailers do not.
Neither Wal-Mart Stores Inc. nor Supervalu Inc. require the tests. Rather, both companies rely on Global Food Safety Initiative certifications and good agricultural practices requirements to make sure their customers are buying safe produce.
“Although testing is an important part of our program, we also understand the limitations of testing as a prevention strategy. No sampling can prevent, nor ensure, the absence of pathogens in produce,” said Wal-Mart’s vice president of food safety Frank Yiannis. “That’s why Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club … require our produce suppliers to achieve prevention-based certification using one of the GFSI internationally recognized food safety standards.”
Supervalu spokesman Mike Siemienas had similar comments about testing and food safety certification programs.
“We don’t require any testing beyond what is required for certifications by the government and other entities,” Siemienas said.
In addition to trusting their suppliers’ food safety protocols, Wal-Mart officials said the company wants to provide the freshest possible produce to its customers. They said requiring finished product testing would involve the test-and-hold process, delaying shipments of perishable products without adding any real benefit to consumers.
For more details on Costco's testing requirement and comments from large produce suppliers, read The Packer's story: Costco mandates produce testing.