Our Philosophy and Approach
Food Safety is an integral part of everyday life at Sprouts. We believe in not only doing things that are required by law, but also doing things that are right for our consumers, our planet and our people. Safety for all people, as it relates to the food we make, serve, and sell is foremost in our minds – every day! Our safety approach starts with identifying risk, then finding systems, procedures, and checks to establish controls and processes to mitigate and manage that risk.
Sprouts continues to invest in processes, equipment, and training to enhance food safety. The most recent examples of investments include digital daily log-keeping of temperatures, cleaning and sanitation tasks at stores, increased investment in vendor audits, and partnering with food safety and industry partners.
Sprouts has developed state-of-the-art in-person and online food safety training modules that are required for all food handlers at our stores. We regularly provide training to new team members, and document these sessions by audits and online course completion certificates.
Sprouts utilizes a systematic approach to assure food safety for our guests. We work to identify risks both across the supply chain, and within our stores. After analyzing any potential risk, we utilize preventative, and proactive, or intervention-based approaches to mitigate risks. Our expectation of food safety standards is built into all our commercial relationships, including those with food vendors and suppliers. For example:
- Processes: Sprouts makes every effort to collect food safety information and certifications from partners like our suppliers and distributors. We also strive to conduct surveys and audits of our suppliers at their manufacturing locations to check for safe practices. I
- Identifying Emerging Risks: With the help of our internal food science and food safety experts, and in collaboration with industry partners, regulatory partners, and academia, Sprouts continuously scans the landscape of emerging risks in food safety, ingredients of concern, industry-wide recalls and health concerns of its consumers that are highly motivated to eat healthy foods. If new risks are identified, Sprouts partners with its suppliers to implement any additional safety measures, as needed, to mitigate those risks.
- Audits: Sprouts regularly conducts food safety audits of its own stores at least twice a year. In addition, Sprouts employs a third-party auditing service to conduct monthly audits at all of its locations. Sprouts also utilizes a health inspection monitoring tool to assess regulatory and health inspection compliance at its stores.
- Partners and Suppliers: Sprouts works closely with its suppliers and partners to ensure high food safety standards are being met throughout the supply chain. Our goal is to require third-party food safety and quality certifications, and establish a recall process from our suppliers prior to vendor onboarding. In addition, Sprouts performs a risk assessment on key product categories, vendors, and brands. This risk assessment allows Sprouts to prioritize and identify vendors and locations for internal audits every quarter. The results are tracked in a database to assist with future audits.
- Traceability and Recalls: Sprouts has implemented a recall system and process tool that can trace and recall private label and branded products within defined performance requirements. The system meets Federal, State, and local standards, and has a history of exceeding standards in speed and accuracy. Sprouts continues to evaluate its standards and systems used for recall notifications for improvement.
- Policy Adherence: Sprouts adheres to all applicable local, State and Federal laws and regulations regarding food safety and commerce. Sprouts provides store operations with resources such as food safety manuals, food education materials, resources on applicable food safety subjects, and support from its Corporate Office. Sprouts maintains Standard Operating Procedures for retail operations that incorporate food safety standards. Sprouts adheres to Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) labeling requirements. Sprouts maintains working material safety data sheets for cleaning supplies used at stores. Further, Sprouts maintains written policies to avoid any biological, chemical, or physical contamination of any food products.
- Leadership: Food Safety and Quality is under the direct purview of the Vice President of Legal & Risk, who manages food safety along with an experienced team of food safety professionals. There are additional staff, personnel, and resources devoted to audit, governance, regulatory compliance and subject matter expertise. The VP of Legal & Risk regularly reports on Food Safety to Sprouts’ Executive Team and Board of Directors.