Wal-Mart opposes US state law on food safety

Related tags Food

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local has called for the
Pennsylvania General Assembly to let the Food Employees
Certification Act of 1994, a voluntary measure designed to train
and certify food workers and ensure food safety, become mandatory
in spite of opposition by the US's largest food retailer, Wal-Mart.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local has called for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to let the Food Employees Certification Act of 1994, a voluntary measure designed to train and certify food workers and ensure food safety, become mandatory in spite of opposition by the US's largest food retailer, Wal-Mart.

The union, which represents thousands of workers in the retail food industry, is working alongside the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association and the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association to make sure food bought in retail food stores is safe and free of foodborne illnesses.

Wal-Mart, as the leading member of the Pennsylvania Retailers Association, is opposed to mandatory food safety training and certification and is supporting a resolution before the General Assembly calling for the law to remain voluntary.

Wendell Young, president of UFCW Local, criticised Wal-Mart for trying to defeat legislation that the majority of the retail food industry, including the unions representing employees in the unionised sector of the industry, are supporting. He noted that recent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses like botulism and listeria made mandatory training and certification of food workers even more important.

Young characterised Wal-Mart's opposition to food safety training and certification as "just another example of the way Wal-Mart places its need to generate ever greater profits ahead of the needs of its customers and the communities where they live.

"It is shameful for Wal-Mart to oppose common sense legislation that is supported by management and labour organisations representing the vast majority of the retail food industry just so they can add more to their bottom line,"​ said Young. "If Wal-Mart doesn't want to spend the money necessary to train and certify its food handlers and provide safe and illness free food for consumers then maybe they should stay out of the retail food business in this state and stick to selling socks and snow tyres."

UFCW Local represents 23,000 workers in the retail food, food manufacturing and food processing industries as well as workers in state government and the health care, and service sector industries in Pennsylvania.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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