Contact: Lori Willis
Director of Communications
September is National Food Safety Month!
ST. LOUIS - Thanks to a new hand-sanitizing program at your local Schnucks store, customers no longer have to put the cart before the wash! In addition to consumer-targeted food safety initiatives already in place, there are now sanitizing checkpoints at the cart corrals inside the entrances and at the meat counters.
According to Dianna Pasley, director of food safety for Schnucks, customers are responding enthusiastically to the Sani-Hands II instant hand-sanitizing wipes produced by NicePak of Orangeburg, N.Y. The wipes are specially formulated to kill germs on hands but they can be used to clean cart handles as well.
Pasley said, "There is no surprise that studies show shopping carts can spread germs. After all, cart handles are no different from door knobs, toys, telephones and other such commonly handled items." She added, "This program is not meant to eliminate all germs, but it has proven effective in killing germs on hands, which will help prevent the spread of germs to handles and other surfaces."
Pasley said, "Our food safety department has been testing the program for more than a year. We considered multiple sanitizers, but the Sani-Hands product offered the safest option." She added, "In addition to creating a cleaner, safer environment, the program engages our customers and associates in helping to reinforce the message that food safety is everyone's responsibility." Pasley hopes customers will carry what they learn while shopping back to their own homes.
Schnucks is among the first grocers to offer sanitization options at multiple checkpoints. "We felt it was important to sanitize at strategic points of contact to ensure customers a safer, more germ free environment throughout the store. It's particularly important in the meat department where customers will come in contact with meat juices," Pasley said.
According to Rick Benigno, co-manager at the Ladue Schnucks, early response has been very positive. "We first installed the Sani-Hands stands over Labor Day weekend, and customers, particularly those with small children, were using them as we were setting up!"
Ladue Store Manager Steve Potashnick added, "We used to go through quite a few paper towels. The new Sani-Hands is much more effective, and we have heard many positive comments from customers who use the kiddy carts."
He explained that children often enjoy snacks as their parents shop and this tends to create sticky hands, which lead to sticky surfaces. "I believe our families appreciate our extra efforts to provide a safer environment for their children," Potashnick said.
"Many of our customers have become quite attached to the sanitizers in just a short amount of time," said Pasley. Pasley says one wipe significantly reduces germs on contact and slows bacteria growth.
In support of this initiative, Schnucks baggers are being trained on ways to prevent cross contamination inside the bag and into the home. "We want to assist the customers with keeping meat separate from other food items, and bagging the meat protects the conveyor belt from leaks and spills," said Pasley. "These precautions are perhaps most important when that food arrives at the home and is unloaded onto tables and countertops."
Pasley added, "Our goal, at Schnucks, is to do everything we can to provide a safe shopping environment for our customers and for our associates."
In recognition of September as National Food Safety month, Schnucks stores are also providing food safety magnets, newsletters and posters for customers and associates. Pasley emphasizes that as more and more consumers become safety conscious, grocers will have help in keeping the message of good health alive and well year-round.
Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 101 stores (including five Logli stores) and 94 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Mississippi. The family-owned company is ranked 80th in the Forbes magazine listing of the nation's "Largest Private Companies."
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Safe Food Handling Tips from the Schnucks and the Food and Drug Administration
In the Store:
In the Home:
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