Wal-Mart announced Thursday (Dec. 18) that it will implement enhanced poultry safety measures for suppliers designed to further protect customers against foodborne illnesses.
The new guidelines are in addition to Wal-Mart’s food safety program that requires poultry suppliers to achieve prevention-based certification against one of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) internationally recognized standards.
“At Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, we are committed to providing our customers with safe, quality foods,” said vice president for food safety, Frank Yiannas. “As part of our continuous improvement process, we determined it was important to require additional layers of protection for our customers.”
The new program requires Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club U.S. poultry suppliers to implement holistic controls from farm to fork designed to significantly reduce potential contamination levels, including chicken parts. It also requires suppliers to undergo specialized testing to validate that the measures they have implemented are effective.
All poultry suppliers must be in compliance with the new requirements by June 2016. The enhanced protocol has been reviewed with numerous stakeholders including consumer groups, regulators, academicians, poultry suppliers and industry associations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has partnered with Wal-Mart on this initiative to advance food safety and decrease foodborne illnesses among consumers.
Dr. Chris Braden, director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases said, “CDC, along with Wal-Mart, recognizes that reducing Salmonella and other pathogen contamination in poultry products is a crucial step towards decreasing the burden of foodborne illnesses.. Wal-Mart and CDC working together to protect public health and advance food safety is a great example of a public-private partnership that benefits everyone”