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Canadian families rely on the food and other products we sell to stay healthy and strong, so it’s our duty to ensure everything in our stores is safe and high – quality. This work has been more important than ever during COVID-19, given how the pandemic has disrupted our normal supply chains and processes. Despite the additional challenges, our team has continued to deliver on the high standards we hold ourselves to — and which our customers expect.
Given our commitment to take care of our customers, it is our duty to ensure that our grocery stores and supply chain meet industry standards. We submit our grocery stores and warehouses to a rigorous annual audit process by a specialized external firm. These sites are audited twice each year against industry standards, our internal food safety protocols and public health standards, with results used to drive the continuous improvement of our internal food safety programs. In fiscal year 2021, 2,345 food safety inspections were performed for our grocery stores as well as 46 warehouse and cross dock audits.
Our team has developed policies and procedures based on industry best practices as well as a risk – based technical audit form that allows for the evaluation of activities from stores and warehouses to ensure effective implementation and maintenance of food safety programs. Any issues found during these audits are corrected by each site. Effective corrective and preventive actions are implemented by the site teams to avoid recurrence and this process is monitored and approved by our internal food safety management team.
To ensure the highest food safety standards across our Own Brands products, our Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs team works closely with the Own Brands Quality Assurance and Customer Care teams. Our teammates analyze data to identify and assess risk, allowing us to address potential food safety issues before they reach our customers. This is a closed – loop process in which all Own Brands food safety complaints and concerns are logged and investigated. Our teammates also work closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to address consumer complaints and product investigations.
Our Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs team is involved in supporting our locations to address CFIA and Public Health inquiries. Due to the impact of the pandemic, we have seen a drastic decrease in inquiries from government authorities. This has not changed our process or commitment to continue to support each of our store locations.
In an effort to continuously improve, we track and monitor all labelling inquiries from government bodies. Our teams engage with locations as soon as an information request is received. We have a fully closed system, during which we launch an investigation, communicate with stakeholders to address matters, and engage with all levels of government to ensure the issues are dealt with appropriately.
In fiscal year 2021, we approved 254 new local suppliers across all our operations outside of Québec.
We continued to maintain 100% of our food safety audits, despite the pandemic.
We worked with distilleries to review labels and sanitizer requirements, as they pivoted their businesses to meet increased demand for sanitizer during the pandemic.
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