This week, Walmart announced a new plan to enforce “enhanced poultry safety measures” for the retail giant’s suppliers. In partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the goal behind this implementation is to “further protect customers against foodborne illnesses.” Stakeholders including consumer groups, regulators, academicians, poultry suppliers and industry associations have all reviewed and approved the new plans.

Dr. Chris Braden, director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases said, “CDC, along with Walmart, recognizes that reducing Salmonella and other pathogen contamination in poultry products is a crucial step towards decreasing the burden of foodborne illnesses. Walmart and CDC working together to protect public health and advance food safety is a great example of a public-private partnership that benefits everyone.”  

Requirements of Walmart and the CDC's program include the following:

  • Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. poultry suppliers must start using “holistic controls” from farm to fork to help reduce contamination.
  • Suppliers must be subjected to validation testing to ensure that the new plan is indeed effective.
  • Poultry suppliers must be in compliance with these new requirements no later than June 2016.

This plan will be in addition to Walmart’s pre-existing food safety program––requiring poultry suppliers to earn prevention-based certification against one of the Global Food Safety Initiative’s internationally recognized standards.