For the past month, our hearts have gone out to the people of Japan as we’ve received ongoing news about how the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster is affecting their country and how the crisis extends to the global community. We’ve been assessing food safety concerns carefully and wanted to take this opportunity to share how this disaster is and is not affecting products in our stores. First of all, we do not sell any meat, fresh seafood, any dairy products, or any produce that comes from Japan. Next, none of our 365 Everyday Value grocery items are made in Japan. Our stores stock a small percentage of products actually produced in Japan. Almost all of these are in the grocery department alongside Japanese-inspired foods like cooking sauces, sushi-style rice and seaweed. Some of these items may originate in Japan but others are produced domestically. We are working with our vendors who provide products from Japan to determine how they are responding to this crisis. We will provide regular updates as we learn more, but given the devastation of their country we know that this will take time. In the meantime our major grocery vendors as well as many of our in-store third-party sushi vendors are responding in several ways, and they individually have assured us of one or more of the following:
- That their product comes from unaffected areas of Japan, far from the four prefectures that have been exposed to radiation near the nuclear plant;
- That they have switched their product sourcing to unaffected areas of Japan or other countries;
- That they are closely monitoring government reports and are relying on Japanese health officials and the FDA to prevent any contaminated food from entering the country without testing regimens;
- That they are testing the products themselves, either before they leave Japan or immediately upon arrival in the U.S.;
- That they have stopped sourcing products from Japan altogether; or
- That the Japanese products they offer currently were shipped prior to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.