While doing some research for a few of our upcoming posts, I noticed that Stop & Shop recently announced that they making a stronger committment to gluten free foods in their stores. For those unfamiliar with this company, the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, based in Quincy, Massachusetts, employs more than 59,000 associates and operates stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey.
According to a recent press release from Stop & Shop:
Stop & Shop Supermarket supports National Food Safety Education Month(R) this September. This
annual food safety campaign strives to build awareness of the restaurant and foodservice industry’s commitment to serving safe food, heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education, and encourage additional food safety training for all industry employees.
This year’s theme, “Take Action to Prevent an Allergic Reaction,” focuses on the importance of reducing the incidence of food allergy reactions. The Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act of 2004 certainly made it easier for consumers to identify foods with the eight major allergens — milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans. But Stop & Shop is going further.
“We are working diligently to help our customers with allergies,” said Andrea Astrachan, consumer advisor. “For example, due to high incidence of peanut allergies among children, we removed the bulk bins for tree nuts and peanuts and now sell them pre-packaged. We did this in response to parents
of children with nut allergies and others who wrote to us with safety concerns, as severe allergic reactions can occur from peanut and tree nut dust.”
Stop & Shop is also helping customers with another common reaction to foods that contain gluten. It is estimated that three million Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. The only treatment for
this difficult disease is a life-long gluten-free diet.
Customers can find a larger selection of gluten-free foods in Stop & Shop stores. “New great tasting gluten-free pastas, baking mixes and snacks can help people with celiac disease eat a more varied diet, so we are expanding our selection of these convenient products,” said Ms. Astrachan. “And we want to make it easy for customers to find them in our stores,” she continued, “so many of our stores have been refitted with separate gluten-free sections within the natural and organic department. Gluten-free signs also assist customers in finding the products they need to maintain
their diet and live gluten-free.” As an additional resource, consumers can visit http://www.stopandshop.com and click on Healthy Ideas to find more information about celiac disease and a list of Stop & Shop brand foods that are gluten-free.
As part of its efforts to help make shopping for gluten-free foods and medicines easier, Stop & Shop has also partnered with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and sponsored its Boston Gluten-Free Cooking Spree, part of a nationwide series of cook-offs with top Boston
chefs and doctors at the Back Bay Events Center. Along with the NFCA, Stop & Shop pharmacy is hosting a Gluten in Medications event for hospital, community and its own pharmacists in order to educate pharmacists about celiac disease, the issues of gluten in medication, and how celiac disease may affect normal absorption of both prescription and non-prescription medications.
“We are excited about participating in this month-long campaign,” said Ms. Astrachan. “Americans are aware of food safety now more than ever before, and, through National Food Safety Education Month, we have the opportunity to highlight what we are doing to educate our associates and