In addition to subscribing to the Rapid Recall Exchange, a web-based portal for receiving recall notices from manufacturers, Kroger, Cincinnati, has established a Web-based internal recall communications system, as well as an automated system for contacting customers.
With its internal system, Kroger's corporate headquarters can communicate to any of the company's 18 retail divisions, which in turn reach out to any of its 2,481 supermarkets and 771 convenience stores. The stores track the number of products taken off shelves and out of the back room and enter it into the system.
“We're then able to capture what percentage of stores acted on the recall,” said John Kolenski, director of food safety and regulatory compliance for Kroger, speaking at the Global Food Safety Conference in Washington this month.
Kolenski said Kroger's internal process is expedited when it receives recall notices from the Rapid Recall Exchange. “We get all the information we need to issue a recall on one form,” he said. “That saves us time.” He urged other retailers and manufacturers to subscribe to the exchange.
For Class 1 recalls, Kroger takes a number of steps to alert customers, including signs at the checkout, notices on its website and press releases in the case of private-label products. The company also sends automated phone messages to loyalty shoppers who purchased a recalled item. Loyalty shoppers who decline to provide their name and phone number are alerted at the bottom of their register receipt during their next two shopping trips.