Food and Nutrition

Today's food retailing and distribution system is the most efficient in the world, providing a consistent and safe food supply to American families every day. NGA and its members are firmly committed to providing consumers with safe and high-quality food products. From labeling requirements to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC), and Healthy Food Financing Initiatives (HFFI), NGA works closely with many agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) to ensure independent supermarket operators are represented at the federal level and have the timeliest information possible to best serve our customers.

Nutrition Programs

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides a safety net to approximately 43 million low-income individuals meet their nutritional needs. Often considered the backbone of their community, America’s independent supermarket operators have long been indispensable partners in the SNAP food delivery system, serving millions of low-income households, including families with children, the elderly, and disabled. SNAP is one of the most efficient federal social safety net programs because retailers are the linchpin of a successful public-private partnership. NGA members continue to work collaboratively with the USDA, Congress, and our industry partners to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the program and to work to decrease waste, fraud, and abuse.

In February of this year, the Administration released its Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal, which included drastic changes to the SNAP program by replacing about 40 percent of household SNAP benefits with a government run commodity box delivery service. Instead of letting households use their SNAP benefits at their local grocery store, SNAP funding would be used to send eligible households a box of non-perishable food items. An economic analysis commissioned by NGA found that such a proposal would be disastrous for the food retail sector. It would mean to a loss of over 211,700 grocery retail jobs, and a total of almost 368,500 direct and indirect job losses throughout the economy. Rural and low-income communities would be most negatively affected, where the local economy is heavily reliant on the success of Main Street supermarkets.

 

Food Safety

Ensuring the safety of America’s food supply is a top priority for NGA and its members.  Below are a number of resources for retail supermarkets.

NGA members can submit food safety questions to foodsafety@nationalgrocers.org.

Listeria Assessment in Retail Deli 

USDA-FSIS is conducting a year-long survey to assess if retail delis are following the FSIS Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens. The Guidance includes a 34 question Self-Assessment. These are the same questions the FSIS Compliance Investigator will be using during their assessment.  The Guidance and Self-Assessment tool are available for download HERE. In addition to the Listeria guidance document, FSIS has also developed a brochure with best practice tips for deli operations. The brochure is available for download HERE.

NOTE: These are guidance documents and not necessarily Federal or State requirements. 

FSMA Training Requirements

FSMA requires all covered facilities, including distribution centers, to have a food safety plan written and managed by an individual who is identified as a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). More information on training requirements and a list of available courses can be found at the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) website at http://www.iit.edu/ifsh/alliance/index.shtml.

Grinding Logs for Beef

USDA-FSIS is requiring retailers to keep records on the source, lot number and additional information on all beef ground in the store.  NGA has developed a “model” grinding log that contains all of the information required under the new regulations.  To access the NGA sample grinding log, click HERE

To learn more contact:

Molly Pfaffenroth, Senior Manager, Government Relations: mpfaffenroth@nationalgrocers.org


Other contacts:

Chris Jones, Vice President, Government Relations & Counsel: cjones@nationalgrocers.org
Greg Ferrara, Executive Vice President Advocacy, Public Relations and Member Services: Gferrara@nationalgrocers.org 
Press inquiriescommunications@nationalgrocers.org