Canadian families rely on us for the food, pharmacy and other products we sell 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, putting our corporate values into action and making progress against key strategic priorities.
Despite ongoing challenges arising from COVID-19 in fiscal 2022, our teams continued to deliver on our audit schedule and work with our suppliers and distributors to overcome supply chain disruptions.
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. Results are used to drive the continuous improvement of our internal food safety programs. In fiscal 2022 there were 2,323 food safety inspections performed for our grocery stores, as well as 48 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.
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.
In an effort 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 Brand suppliers are also meeting the same high standards. When we partner to develop a new Own Brand offering, product and supplier performance are continually evaluated from development to launch and beyond.
Ensuring Recall Readiness
When a product quality or safety issue is identified, we move quickly to investigate and implement recalls as necessary. We perform annual mock recalls with our banners and teams to ensure that our systems work effectively. In fiscal 2022 our Own Brands team also took part in a broader mock recall with Food Safety. Additionally, our Own Brands suppliers are required to conduct mock recalls regularly, where they contact our teams to verify that the process and contacts are current and working.
Partners in Maintaining High Standards
Our 694 Own Brands food supplier sites are audited to a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Standard, ensuring that they are fully traceable and compliant with rigorous standards. 100 per cent of our suppliers were GSFI certified in fiscal 2022. Additionally, we ensure our suppliers hold and maintain the appropriate Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licences.
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