Raising the Bar on Food Safety and Quality
ANN ARBOR, Mich., March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NSF International today announced that Spartan Stores is the largest supermarket chain in the United States to receive NSF Shop Fresh(TM) certification.
(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070816/DCTH039LOGO )
Spartan Stores, one of the nation's leading grocery suppliers and retailers, is going beyond standard Food Code requirements to ultimately improve the quality of its perishable products. Obtaining NSF Shop Fresh(TM) certification demonstrates Spartan Store's overall commitment to food safety.
"Spartan Stores makes food safety a top priority. We realize that if you want to be the best, you have to work with the best, and the NSF Shop Fresh(TM) program has proven itself to be one of the most effective programs on the market to help assure safer food," said Chuck Behrend, Food Safety Director, Spartan Stores. "The NSF microbial reports provide Spartan Stores with a means to view the invisible. These reports have created a heightened sense of awareness on behalf of the store associates and provide a sense of assurance to our valued customers that the food they purchase is the freshest, safest available."
The NSF Shop Fresh(TM) Certification Program integrates microbial sampling with onsite inspections. The voluntary program is designed for retail food establishments, which assists in further preventing and reducing food-related risks while improving the quality, freshness and shelf life of foods.
NSF's independent, highly-experienced, third-party auditors evaluate food safety practices in perishable departments and collect food and environmental samples to test and validate freshness and quality. This proactive approach involves three interlocking services:
-- Unannounced audits evaluate food safety, sanitation conditions and customer perceptions.
-- Ongoing microbial monitoring tests food and food preparation surfaces for bacteria, which can cause illness, spoilage and poor quality in perishables.
-- FastCheck(TM) provides an immediate response to customer food-related illness complaints and includes testing of suspect products.
To become certified, the following retail banners owned by Spartan Stores were audited and tested to demonstrate compliance with NSF's food safety criteria: Glen's Markets, Family Fare Supermarkets and D&W Fresh Markets. Spartan Stores also has a certified food manager working every shift where food is being prepared or served. Ongoing monitoring and testing ensures that Spartan continues to comply with all certification requirements.
"The NSF Certification helps supermarkets improve the quality and shelf life of their perishables and also provides customers with reassurance that the foods they purchase have been tested to the most stringent food safety standards," said Tom Chestnut, Vice President, NSF Food Safety & Quality.
For achieving certification, Spartan Stores can display the NSF Shop Fresh(TM) mark
(www.nsf.org/business/newsroom/press_releases/ShopFresh%20Mark.jpg) in advertising, circulars, storefront displays as well as designated locations throughout the store. This mark signifies Spartan Stores' continuing dedication to providing the freshest, safest, highest-quality food.
Additional information on the Shop Fresh(TM) program can be found on NSF's website (http://www.nsf.org/business/shopfresh/index.asp).
About Spartan Stores: Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Spartan Stores, Inc.
(Nasdaq: SPTN) is the nation's tenth largest grocery distributor with warehouse facilities in Grand Rapids and Plymouth, Michigan (http://www.spartanstores.com). The Company distributes more than 40,000 private-l