COLUMBIA, S.C. — A bill that would require South Carolina supermarkets to use their customer database to contact shoppers who purchased an item that was later recalled was introduced here earlier this month.
Retailers whose food sales comprise 70% or more of their total business would have to abide by the rule — but only if they already have a customer database in place, the bill's sponsor, State Rep. Harry Limehouse, R-Charleston, told SN.
“If you already have the technology at your fingertips, then why not do this?” he said.
If passed, the bill would require that these grocers contact, by phone, mail or email within 10 days of receiving notice of the recall, those who purchased the food item within 30 days of the issuance of the recall. The proposal could take effect as soon as June.
Attempts by SN to obtain comment from the South Carolina Retail Association and from Bi-Lo Supermarkets and Publix Super Markets, which operate stores in the state, were unsuccessful.
Limehouse has faced opposition from a lobbyist representing the interests of supermarkets, he said.
“I didn't expect grocery stores to like this idea. No one likes to be regulated.”
Limehouse purposely excluded sanctions from the bill, saying that he hopes to rely on policing from consumer groups.
Monetary penalties could be added later if compliance becomes a problem, he added.