Retailers Could Use Bonus Card Data to Alert Buyers of Recalled Foods


Statement of CSPI Food Safety Attorney Sarah Klein

March 11, 2010

Now that the CDC has shown that customer loyalty cards provided crucial information to pinpoint the items that sickened nearly 250 people in 44 states, this valuable tool should be used by all retailers to alert their customers when they purchase food products that are later recalled.

A year ago, CSPI called on retailers to use the information generated by bonus cards to contact consumers who have purchased recalled products. Thatís already the practice of Costco, Wegmanís, and Price Chopper. These cards which speeded identification of the contaminated salami and prevented another giant outbreak are a valuable tool. This get other grocery chains thinking about how they can protect their customers when the next dangerous outbreak hits.

The bonus cards swiped at grocery stores can do more than just save consumers money and generate powerful marketing databases for retailers. If a retailer knows the address, phone number, or email address of someone who has purchased contaminated peanut butter, spinach, or salami, the company should take advantage of that opportunity to prevent future illnesses from recalled products.

 

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