To advance these goals, we operate food and product safety programs, work to increase access to healthier foods, and encourage suppliers to join in our sustainable chemistry efforts.
Walmart aims to provide access to safe, high-quality food to millions of customers worldwide. We maintain a Global Food Safety Compliance team comprised of experienced food safety professionals who are responsible for overseeing a comprehensive Food Safety program and ensuring adherence to our Global Food Safety Policy.
We assess compliance with Walmart food safety standards, processes, conditions and expected behaviors through regular independent, third-party food safety audits of our stores and clubs that prepare fresh food. We conduct risk-based audits to help ensure that our stores are operating safely and in compliance with laws and regulations.
We have been a long-time supporter and board member of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI, which is an important part of our efforts to promote food safety among suppliers; we remain committed to this effort. It enables us to take a global, unified approach.
We also embrace innovation and technology such as blockchain to improve transparency and traceability of food to deliver a better shopping experience while limiting the scope of outbreaks and recalls. Blockchain technology can enable greater accountability, improved safety and more sustainable practices by providing greater visibility into supply chains. We established a blockchain platform in the U.S. to help trace foods in our supply chain, and a majority of our fresh leafy greens' suppliers have onboarded to a blockchain platform. The success of that rollout encouraged us to communicate the same expectation of using a blockchain platform to our green bell pepper suppliers. In 2020, we are focused on expanding our blockchain technology to additional food commodities.
In China, Walmart created the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center (WFSCC) in 2016 to bring together stakeholders across industry, government, academia and trade associations to address the root causes of foodborne illness. The center focuses on three aspects of the food safety system: innovation, education and policy support.
This center’s work is also supported by philanthropic investments from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. In 2016 Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced a plan to invest $25 million in funding over five years to support research projects in applied science, education and communications that enhance Chinese food safety. Since 2016, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have spent $22.5 million to meet this goal.
Our customers and members seek products that are safe, effective, affordable and sustainable.
Walmart’s Sustainable Chemistry Commitment encourages suppliers to incorporate Sustainable Chemistry principles into the development of their products that we sell. We ask suppliers to accelerate product reformulation, certify products using credible accreditations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice program, and improve transparency into ingredients and formulations. We also disclose our progress to the Chemical Footprint Project, which has recognized Walmart as a CFP 2019 Disclosure Leader.
As part of our commitment, in 2017, we became the first U.S. retailer to announce a time-bound chemical reduction goal: by 2022, we aim to reduce our footprint of “priority chemicals” in formulated consumables by 10% compared to our 2017 baseline of 215.9 million pounds. Walmart references regulatory and authoritative lists to determine priority chemicals. In 2018, there were 125,000 formulated consumable items in-scope sold by Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. in the following categories: personal care, beauty, baby, pet and household cleaning products.
Walmart believes that farm animals in our supply chain should be treated humanely throughout their lives. We have asked suppliers to implement principles of judicious use, including using antibiotics only for medicinal purposes and not to promote growth.
Walmart expects that our suppliers will not tolerate animal abuse, and we support the globally recognized “Five Freedoms” of animal welfare:
- Freedom from hunger or thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
We are committed to working with suppliers and other organizations to implement practices consistent with these freedoms and with the judicious use of antibiotics.
As part of our animal-welfare position, we called for the industry to find and implement solutions to animal-welfare concerns. Examples of specific programs include:
- Technology to monitor animal welfare: We asked that our Walmart U.S. suppliers implement video monitoring on sow farms by end of 2018. As of that time, suppliers reported implementing video monitoring in a manner that was estimated to cover 100% of the volume supplied to Walmart U.S.
- Working toward cage-free eggs: All of our shell egg supply at Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. are required to meet United Egg Producers animal welfare requirements or equivalent and 32% of eggs at Sam’s Club are cage free and 17% of eggs at Walmart U.S. are cage free.
For more information please see our Animal Welfare policy on our Corporate Policies and Guidelines page.