Canadian families rely on us for food, pharmacy and other products to stay healthy and strong, so it’s our duty to ensure everything in our stores is safe and of high quality. To achieve these goals, we partner with our suppliers and manufacturers and work closely with regulators and industry-oversight bodies to ensure we are meeting the highest standards and continuously improving our approach.
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 for product quality and safety. Our drive to continuously improve in this area is part of how we deliver exceptional customer experiences every day.
Education for Teammates & Partners
We have a robust employee education program focused on product quality and safety, including food safety training delivered as part of onboarding new teammates and annual training for existing teammates. All store operators and managers complete food handling certifications and are required to be recertified every five years. Consistent with Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards, our suppliers are also required to ensure all their employees are properly trained.
Robust Auditing Program
Our corporate and franchise grocery stores and warehouses participate in a rigorous semi-annual audit process. These sites are audited twice each year against industry standards, our internal food safety protocols and public health standards. Own Brands supplier partners are required to hold GSFI certification and be annually certified by third-party auditors. Results drive the continuous improvement of our internal food safety programs. In fiscal 2023 to date, we completed 2,336 food safety inspections performed for our grocery stores. In addition, there were 54 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 the 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.
Unwavering Focus on Quality Control
We have a Quality Control Monitoring Program in place under which our Own Brands products are tested by a third-party laboratory to ensure that they continue to meet the requirements of our product specifications. 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.
Drive to Continuous Improvement
To continuously improve, we track and monitor 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.
We invest in ongoing product quality and safety accreditation and training for our teammates and facilities, and we work hard to ensure our Own Brands suppliers are also meeting the same high standards. When we partner to develop a new Own Brands offering, product and supplier performance are continually evaluated from development to launch and beyond.
Partners in Maintaining High Standards
Our Own Brands food supplier sites are audited annually to a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standard, ensuring that they have programs and procedures in place for quality and food safety. One hundred per cent of our Own Brands suppliers are certified to a GFSI Audit Scheme. Additionally, we ensure our suppliers hold and maintain the appropriate Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) licences.
Sharing Best Practices
Learning and sharing from industry best practices is integral to our overarching product quality and safety approach. That is why we believe it is important to be members of the Retail Council of Canada, I.E. Canada, and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, working with all levels of the supply chain on product safety and quality. We are also members of the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation.
As a family nurturing families, we want to ensure Canadians are taken care of today, tomorrow and in the future. By doing OurPart™ for the environment, we hope to inspire our customers to do theirs. Every step we take together—big or small—can make a difference.Learn More