Data not platitudes: market food safety but be able to back it up

I’m all for marketing microbial food safety at retail – directly to consumers – but only if the claims can be backed up with actions and data.

Schnuck Markets is expanding its so-called “Peace of Mind” initiative from pricing to quality assurance with a new website,, that emphasizes the chain’s dedication to quality and food safety.

Supermarket News cites one example on the website, a statement by Schnucks that “it intentionally applies shorter sell-by dates on meats and deli products to ensure products are fresher and last longer once purchased.”

“Through ‘Peace of Mind,’ you will have complete confidence that our foods are of the highest quality,” Schnucks writes on the website.

Quality and safety are seemingly used interchangeably on the website when they are actually two different concepts. The only evidence of food safety I saw on the website was that the company won some big-time award from the International Association for Food Protection in 2009.

I’m all for marketing food safety and providing comprehensive explanations of the food safety efforts of everyone in the farm-to-fork food safety chain, even the provision of testing data; some U.S. slaughterhouses are now doing this. Schnucks is going the right way, but it can be a lot better.