Walmart and Sam’s Club to require enhanced beef safety measures

An ermerging trend in several mainstream media stories of the past year is that some of the biggest food suppliers – Costco, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Burger King – have the best food safety requirements. Quality is a different issue and largely based on personal preference and lifestyle choices. Cool. But there are some microbiological basics that food safety types have to pay attention too.

Frank ‘food safety culture’ Yiannas, vp for food safety at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said today the company will implement additional beef safety measures designed to further protect customers against foodborne illnesses.

The new process controls standards and goals are additions to a food safety program that already requires ground beef suppliers to test for E.coli O157:H7 and achieve prevention-based certification against one of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) internationally recognized standards.

Yiannas said,

“In light of recent beef recalls, we determined it was prudent to require an additional layer of protection for our customers.”

The new program requires Walmart and Sam’s Club beef suppliers to implement controls that would significantly reduce potential contamination levels and validate that the measures they’ve implemented are effective through specialized testing.

Suppliers who do not operate slaughter houses must be in compliance with the new standard by June 2011. For beef slaughterhouse suppliers, there is a two-step approach with the first step to be completed by June 2011 and the second by June 2012.

Walmart and Sam’s Club will work closely with beef suppliers to ensure that the new requirement is implemented without additional cost to customers.