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Spurred by reports that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) used customer loyalty cards to glean crucial information on salmonella-tainted pepper in salami that sickened almost 250 people in 44 states, the Center for Science in the Public Interest is recommending that all retailers avail themselves of this “valuable tool” when alerting their customers that food items they’ve purchased have been recalled.
Last year, the organization called on retailers to employ the information generated by bonus cards to contact shoppers who bought recalled products, a policy already implemented by Costco, Wegmans and Price Chopper. In the instance involving the CDC, CSPI noted that use of loyalty cards sped identification of the contaminated salami and prevented a wider outbreak.
“This should get other grocery chains thinking about how they can protect their customers when the next dangerous outbreak hits,” said CSPI food safety attorney Sarah Klein.
Washington-based CSPI is a nonprofit health advocacy group focused on nutrition, food safety, and pro-health alcohol policies.