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Walmart unveils new poultry rules


Walmart is instituting new rules on poultry safety as the company looks to protect customers from foodborne illness.

Walmart’s enhanced poultry safety measures will require poultry suppliers to achieve prevention-based certification by one of the Global Food Safety Initiative's recognized standards. Walmart said poultry suppliers must implement "holistic controls" from farm to fork; the controls must significantly reduce potential contamination levels, including chicken parts.

Suppliers must also undergo specialized testing to validate the effectiveness of the measures suppliers have implemented. All poultry suppliers must be in compliance by June 2016.

“At Walmart and Sam’s Club, we are committed to providing our customers with safe, quality foods,” said Frank Yiannas, vice president for food safety at Walmart. “As part of our continuous improvement process, we determined it was important to require additional layers of protection for our customers.”

Walmart said numerous stakeholders including consumer groups, regulators, academicians, poultry suppliers and industry associations reviewed the new protocols. Additionally, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has partnered with Walmart on the initiative to advance food safety and decrease foodborne illnesses among consumers.

“CDC, along with Walmart, recognizes that reducing Salmonella and other pathogen contamination in poultry products is a crucial step towards decreasing the burden of foodborne illnesses,” said Dr. Chris Braden, director of the CDC’s division of foodborne, waterborne, and environmental diseases. “Walmart and CDC working together to protect public health and advance food safety is a great example of a public-private partnership that benefits everyone.”

Dr. Gary R. Acuff, director of the Texas A&M Center for Food Safety, added: “Walmart’s implementation of enhanced safety measures for poultry products provides leadership for the food industry and continues a progressive approach to providing the safest possible food. This is a smart, science-supported move that will greatly benefit consumers.”

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