CSPI 03/02/09 Supermarkets Urged to Use Loyalty Card Info to Notify Consumers Who Purchased Recalled Products. WASHINGTON—Besides helping consumers save a little money on their grocery purchases, retail loyalty card programs help supermarket and drugstore chains assemble gigantic databases on the shopping preferences of their customers. The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest is urging retailers that collect this kind of information to use it to notify consumers when they purchased tainted peanut-butter products or other items subject to a food safety recall. Costco, which requires a membership, and Wegmans Food Markets and Price Chopper, which run bonus card programs, have all used their data to notify consumers who purchased recalled items.
In fact, Costco made over 1.5 million automated phone calls and mailed even more letters to customers in the current recall alone. But most chains, including CVS, Food Lion and Safeway, that collect purchasing data do not notify their customers. "It's not enough just to take the tainted products off the supermarket shelf," Klein said. CDC - NOV 2015 - Safer Food Saves Lives - Stopping multistate foodborne outbreaks. EUROSURVEILLANCE 08/05/14 Hepatitis A outbreak in British Columbia, Canada: the roles of established surveillance, consumer loyalty cards and collaboration, February to May 2012.
Non-travel-related hepatitis A is rare in Canada. We describe a hepatitis A outbreak investigation in British Columbia in February to May 2012 in which exposure history was collected from nine confirmed non-travel-related cases. Suspected foods were tested for hepatitis A virus (HAV): a frozen fruit blend was identified as a common exposure for six of the nine cases using supermarket loyalty cards. Consumption of the product was confirmed in each case. Genetic analysis confirmed HAV genotype 1B in the six exposed cases. Of the three non-exposed cases, the virus could not be genotyped for two of them; the virus from the other case was found to be genotype 1A and this case was therefore not considered part of the outbreak.
HAV was detected by PCR from pomegranate seeds, a component of the identified frozen fruit blend. Background Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is primarily spread by the faecal–oral route, either through direct contact or through ingestion of contaminated food or water. Methods. CBC NEWS 09/05/14 Hep A food outbreak traced with grocery store loyalty card clue Finding food source difficult because people cannot recall with precision what they ate weeks ago. Tests showed that one lot of pomegranate seeds from a supplier in Egypt was contaminated with hepatitis A and a recall was ordered. (S. Katzman Produce/Associated Press) Grocery store loyalty cards aren't just about earning points or getting discounted prices, it appears. Disease detectives in British Columbia were able to spot and halt an outbreak of hepatitis A infections in that province in early 2012 by comparing the foods the infected people had bought in previous months.
Those food purchasing histories were compiled from their grocery story loyalty cards; pomegranate seeds in a frozen fruit mix were eventually identified as the source of the infection. The public health investigators reported their success in a study published Thursday in Eurosurveillance, the online public health journal of the European Centre for Disease Control. Dr. Then it can be difficult to find the source because people cannot recall with precision what they ate weeks earlier. THE NATIONS HEALTH - MAI 2010 - Health officials use new means to trace sources of food illness: Customer loyalty cards hold promise.
Stuffed into wallets or attached to keychains, millions of food shoppers in the United States regard customer loyalty cards as tools for saving money. But some federal health officials and food safety advocates also see the ubiquitous cards as tools for saving lives. Investigating a recent outbreak of salmonella Montevideo, epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the first time successfully used data from shopper cards to precisely pinpoint the product that had sickened consumers. The ongoing outbreak, first identified in July 2009, has been linked to black and red pepper and to products containing the spices, including salami and sausage products. At least 252 people in 44 states have been sickened by the products, which were sold by more than four dozen grocery store chains nationwide.
Diana Arias, left, shops with her mother, Rose Castro, at a Queens, New York, Costco store in May 2009. Photo by Daniel Acker, courtesy Bloomberg/Getty Images. THE PACKER 30/07/14 Food safety loyalty card case against Safeway moves forward. FOOD QUALITY & SAFETY 21/10/15 Can Big Data Revolutionize Food Safety? Image Credit: © Jérôme Rommé – Fotolia.com “Big data” is being talked about everywhere, including increasingly in the context of food safety and food quality. For example, while only one symposium covered “big data” in the 2014 annual meeting of the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP), the recent 2015 IAFP annual meeting included at least four sessions that mentioned “big data” in the session title or abstract. While the potential of big data and data analytics to improve our ability to address food safety and quality issues is increasingly recognized, use of these tools in food safety and quality still appears to be limited. Even if “big data” are used in this space, many may argue that the amount of data used in these cases rarely qualify as truly being big data, rather these data may often simply be large traditional datasets.
Big Data Introduction Big Data Sources for Food (click for larger image) Big Data in Food Safety and Quality – A Call to Action for Industry. FOOD QUALITY & SAFETY 02/04/12 Loyalty Card Data Still Underutilized for Ensuring Food Safety. Costco’s Craig Wilson still recalls the Salmonella outbreak in almonds in 2004. “It started in Oregon, and ultimately it moved to almost every state,” he said. More than 30 cases in 12 states and one Canadian province were linked to the same Salmonella isolate. Epidemiologists tracking the five initial cases of Salmonella in the outbreak had determined that all had made purchases at Costco warehouse stores. “They came to us and said, ‘It looks like the source of the pathogen could have been raw almonds, or a couple of other different items. Could you let us know who bought what and when they bought it?’” Recalled Wilson, Costco’s food safety director.
“The members had given them their Costco membership numbers, so we were able to use those to track their purchases and nail down the organism.” On May 18, 2004, Paramount announced a nationwide recall of all raw almonds sold under the Kirkland Signature, Trader Joe’s, and Sunkist labels. NBC NEWS 13/03/13 Shopper cards may save your life, food safety sleuths say. Paul Sakuma / AP file Members line up for registers at a Costco warehouse store in Mountain View, Calif. Purchase records are being used more frequently by public health officials investigating outbreaks of foodborne illness. If you have a warehouse membership card in your wallet or a supermarket shopper tag on your key chain, you might regard it as a good way to save money. But public health officials say it may be an even better way to save lives. More local health departments -- along with state and federal investigators -- are relying on the detailed information about what went in consumers’ shopping carts to track down outbreaks of foodborne illness, experts say.
Take the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in organic spinach and spring mix salad greens that sickened 33 people in five states last fall, including new mother Erica Duerr, 32, of North Tonawanda, N.Y., and her mother-in-law, Beth Duerr, 60. “It happens a couple times a week,” said Wilson. The reasons may be obvious. CLARK 22/09/15 Tracking loyalty card purchases helps stem the spread of foodborne illness. Store loyalty cards are good for way more than just discounts. I want to tell you how using them could actually save your life. For years, I've had my passive aggressive way of dealing with loyalty programs at supermarkets and drug stores.
I never liked that they could track everything I might buy when I use a loyalty card to get some savings. It just seemed too Big Brother-ish for me. Read more: 11 frugal ways to prepare for an emergency So when I would fill in an application, I often put in the name of some deceased president as cardholder. But from now on, I will be telling the truth with my real name and address.
For food safety, loyalty cards make it possible for the feds to pinpoint a pattern to determine if everybody's eating the same chicken, the same tomatoes or whatever it is. By narrowing things down quickly, lives can be saved. So now I'll use a real name on the loyalty cards. Read more: 6 ways families with food allergies can save cash.
FOOD SAFETY NEWS 08/01/16 Settlement could be near in Safeway loyalty card food safety case. Settlement negotiations could be nearing conclusion in a federal civil case that pits consumers against Safeway Inc. in a quest for increased communication from the retailer during food recalls. The case seeks an order forcing Safeway to use loyalty card data to notify customers about recalls of food they have purchased. If the consumers prevail, all retailers could be subject to such requirements. Two consumers, represented in part by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), filed the suit in March 2011. They seek class action status for other similar consumers. Maia Kats, an attorney with CSPI said Jan. 7 that a new information regarding the settlement talks could be posted in the docket in a “couple of weeks.”
Safeway and CSPI filed a joint notice of pending settlement Nov. 4, 2015. The woman who bought eggs was later replaced with a different plaintiff who bought fresh mangoes, yellow onions and romaine lettuce that were later recalled because of pathogen contamination.