While supermarket management is a complicated endeavor, requiring attention to a lot of moving pieces all at the same time, you could make the argument that food safety and security should come first. Retailers have an obligation to ensure the safety of their products – if they do, they can expect their customers to be satisfied and loyal. If not, they need to fear declining business, negative media attention and possibly even legal trouble.
"Store managers should ensure that their maintenance functions are efficient and yield safe food products."
It's worth taking a moment to consider carefully how one's supermarket maintenance strategies affect the quality of their inventories. Store managers should ensure that their maintenance functions are efficient and yield safe food products. If they don't do so voluntarily, it's inevitable that regulatory intervention will force their hand.
Inspections cast into the public eye
Regulatory agencies are constantly inspecting supermarkets to ensure the quality of their food products. According to Food Quality and Safety Magazine, this is becoming increasingly publicized, as the government seeks to make sanitary food more of a widely known priority.
Sarah Klein, senior staff attorney for the food safety program at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the publication that publicizing the movement to sanitize supermarket products is important to her office.
"The Center for Science in the Public Interest makes the results of the health department inspections more public," Klein said. "We believe the transparency of those results … will serve as an incentive."
There's recently been a shift in the way regulatory agencies handle supermarket food safety. In the past, the objective was to sniff out contamination and respond to it, but under the new Food Safety Modernization Act, it's now more about being proactive and preventing contamination from happening in the first place.
Effective maintenance yields sanitary foods
In order to keep their food products sanitary and steer clear of any issues with regulatory intervention, it's important that businesses have strong maintenance practices in first place.
Part of this is a matter of utilizing physical assets, such as heaters and coolers that control foods' temperatures, to regulate matters. But in addition, supermarkets can go a long way simply by exercising common sense and demonstrating sanitary habits.
All employees should be well trained in matters of personal hygiene, product safety and basic inventory storage skills. A little bit of discretion can go a long way toward keeping food products in good shape, which should ultimately keep both the customers and Uncle Sam happy.