business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that while Technomic says that foodservice sales in supermarkets grew from$15 billion in 2005 to $28 billion in 2015, the more sophisticated foods they are offering require "more complex cooking and serving practices," which in turn create "food-safety issues that even leading chains are racing to manage."

For example: "Whole Foods Market Inc., a trailblazer in the sale of fresh-cooked items, was recently forced to temporarily shutter one of its commercial kitchens producing fresh meals for stores. The move was a response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s warning over safety gaps in the Boston-area plant. The grocer is now overhauling its approach, including discontinuing the processing of meat, poultry and raw seafood in that kitchen and two others, according to a letter obtained through a public document request and the company."

And, "The FDA’s warning followed an E.coli outbreak last year that was linked to rotisserie chicken salad made at Costco Wholesale Corp. and sickened 19 people. Deli foods from the Boise Co-Op, a natural-foods grocer in Idaho, were also tied to a salmonella outbreak last year that sickened nearly 300 people."

The Journal goes on to say that "the grocers’ woes highlight challenges facing supermarkets competing for consumers forgoing home-cooking and traditional restaurant meals in favor of fresh offerings from sushi counters or taco bars at neighborhood grocery stores. As prepared-food offerings increase in volume and complexity, the risk of food-safety issues also grows, with supermarkets now facing safety concerns that have beset the restaurant industry for years."
KC's View:
This just reinforces the point that has been made here on MNB for quite some time - that in order to compete, companies up and down the food chain have to be assiduous and transparent about how they treat the food they sell, and the records they keep about the foods they sell.

There is no choice. None. It is their legal responsibility., as per the Food Safety Modernization Act. It is their ethical responsibility. It can be an opportunity, if embraced. It will be a nightmare, if ignored.

One more time, a bit of full disclosure...

I'm very careful about mixing church and state here on MNB ... which means talking about a sponsor within the context of editorial. But in this case, there is a direct connection, and I want to be both transparent and informative.

ReposiTrak, which has created automated information management technology that allows companies to do the things necessary to comply with evolving FSMA regulations, is a longtime MNB sponsor ... and we've been running a series of videos from ReposiTrak here that have interviewed CEOs such as Kevin Davis of Bristol Farms and Karen Caplan of Frieda's who have been proactive ands progressive in their approach to this issue. I hope you'll check it out; it was my pleasure to produce these videos, a task I welcomed because this is a serious issue that requires an industry-wide focus.