A recent survey of fresh food retailers by a New York City-based weekly trade magazine found that food safety is the number-one fear they have regarding perishable food products. Supermarket News asked retailers to choose their two greatest fears in the “perimeter,” which is the fresh foods category that includes produce, meat, dairy and deli products. http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-market-worker-image191468“At the top of the list was food safety, which 50% of retailers said was one of their biggest fears,” wrote Liz Webber, the publication’s engagement director and fresh market editor, in a May 12 blog post. She added that one survey respondent called food safety “just plain scary,” while another commented on “too much negative publicity regarding food safety.” “Food safety is paramount due to consumer awareness, and the need for all businesses to assure high sanitation standards to improve sales [and] build customer loyalty and credibility,” noted one retailer Webber quoted. Other concerns cited by survey respondents related to the perceived shortage of experienced store produce clerks and insufficient staff knowledge and training involving such common operating procedures as “FIFO,” or “first in, first out” inventory rotation practices. Webber told Food Safety News that 93 retailers, both independent ones and some from chains, plus some manufacturers and wholesalers, completed the Supermarket News online survey. The survey was sent out to people who already subscribe to the publication’s online newsletter. She said the survey will be done on an annual basis and that it was likely some food safety-related questions would again be included.