WHILE SOME RETAILERS ARE definitely are “on it” when it comes to educating shoppers about safe food handling, there are many more doing very little in that regard.
One supermarket meat/seafood director, who asked not to be named, told SN he doesn't view teaching shoppers about safe food handling as a responsibility for retailers.
“I guess we take it for granted our customers know how to take care of the food they buy.”
Meanwhile, consultant Terry Roberts, president of Merchandising By Design/The Design Associates, Carrollton, Texas, who travels extensively around the country, said she doesn't see much educating going on.
“In general, I don't see anywhere near enough retailer education to consumers on food safety. I am a fanatic about it, so I'm particularly aware of the lack of information.”
And yet, “who wants their burger rare?” is still a common call from the backyard grill.
Especially in picnic mode, people also are apt to get careless about avoiding cross-contamination, and keeping chilled food chilled. A reminder at retail could keep them thinking.
Industry sources have long said they see the supermarket as the logical — and most effective — venue for dispensing tips on how to safely handle fresh food once it's out of the store.
In an earlier interview with SN, U.S. Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg made that point. She sees food safety requiring a partnership all the way along the supply line, right down to the consumer.
“Retail marketers have a huge role to play in [consumers'] safe food handling,” Hamburg told SN.