Walmart aims to provide access to safer, healthier and high-quality food to millions of customers worldwide. Access to healthier and affordable food is foundational for good health in communities. We aim to enable our customers to make healthier choices and to provide access to the products that are important to them.
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.
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 strengthen food safety knowledge and practices in China. In 2021, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation met our original investment goal of $25 million.
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.
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. Based on supplier reports, our priority chemical footprint for 2020 for in-scope products sold in Walmart U.S. stores and Sam’s Clubs U.S. saw a 17% decrease over 2017, as measured by weight in pounds. The weight of priority chemicals as a proportion of total product formulation weight for items sold in Walmart U.S. stores and Sam’s Club U.S. declined by 61 basis points from the 2017 baseline year. We achieved this goal ahead of our target date through a combination of assortment changes, reformulation, and shifts in consumer purchases. Walmart references regulatory and authoritative lists to determine priority chemicals.
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:
- Swine Assurance Position: aims to increase transparency and confidence in our fresh pork supply chain in the U.S. through tracking and auditing. We state that Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club U.S. will accept fresh pork only from suppliers who abide by the standards of the National Pork Board’s (NPB) Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus Program. Under this program, suppliers are required to 1) have on-farm video monitoring of sow farms and are subject to unannounced animal welfare video audits by accredited and independent third parties; 2) implement an internal annual animal welfare audit for all farms that includes a grading system and corrective action tracking; 3) ensure that key management personnel, including any that handle pigs, are PQA Plus Certified; and 4) participate in the NPB third-party verification pool. We ask suppliers to report to us on their enrollment in the PQA PLUS Program and sow video monitoring. Based on supplier reports for FY2022, 100% of Walmart U.S. fresh pork suppliers abided by the standards of the NPB’s PQA Plus Program. Additionally, suppliers representing over 99% of the Walmart U.S. fresh pork volume in FY2022 reported that a portion of farms they source from have implemented sow video monitoring.
- 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. In FY2022, cage-free eggs comprised 20% of total shell egg net sales at Walmart U.S. and 36% at Sam’s Club U.S., based on supplier reports.
For more information please see our Animal Welfare policy on our Corporate Policies and Guidelines page.