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    CSPI Urging Grocers to Use Loyalty Card Info for Recall Notification

    The group says that chains have obligation to help contain foodborne illness outbreaks.

    The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest is urging retailers that employ loyalty card programs to use them to notify consumers when they've purchased products subject to food safety recalls.

    The group applauded several retailers for doing just that, including membership warehouse club Costco, Wegmans Food Markets and Price Chopper, all of which have used customer loyalty data to notify shoppers who purchased recalled items. In fact, Costco made over 1.5 million automated phone calls and mailed even more letters to customers in the current peanut butter recall alone.

    "Supermarkets enjoy using purchasing data for marketing purposes," said CSPI staff attorney Sarah Klein. "We're calling on supermarkets to also use that information to protect their customers' health by alerting them to identify and return tainted foods. Several major chains are already doing that, and every other chain should do the same."

    In a letter to retailers that use bonus cards, CSPI said that the companies have a responsibility to assist their customers in returning contaminated foods.

    "It's not enough just to take the tainted products off the supermarket shelf," noted Klein, adding that wherever possible, "supermarkets should reach out to their customers and help get contaminated food products out of their homes."

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