Monday, 13 July 2015 15:38

The Checkout - 7/13/2015

FRF Launches the Florida Grocers Association
The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, recently held its 2015 Summer Meeting where President/CEO Rick McAllister announced that FRF’s Grocery Council will be rebranded to the Florida Grocers Association. This rebranded Association will continue to be a division of the Florida Retail Federation with a clear vision to serve Florida’s $45 billion grocery industry.

“Florida’s grocers are such an important and influential part of our economy, and we felt that this rebranding better reflects the impactful role they play for both businesses and consumers,” said McAllister. “We felt the Council needed to be better positioned to meet today’s needs and challenges of the state’s grocery industry, and the Florida Grocers Association provides the appropriate level of support and awareness.”

McAllister said that Tom Jackson, a current FRF consultant and a retired former CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association, will serve as Interim Executive Director of the new Florida Grocers Association, and will look to continue expanding its membership while also serving the needs of the more than 2,300 grocery stores and their industry partners statewide. Jackson currently serves as the Director of FRF’s Grocery Council.

“Tom brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise about how to properly manage an organization of this size, while also growing its membership,” said McAllister. “Tom successfully ran a similar organization in Ohio for 25 years, and I look forward to the positive impact he’ll have here in Florida as we look to better serve the needs of Florida’s grocers.”

“I’m very excited about this new association, as it will provide a greater and more defined identity to serve Florida grocers,” stated Jackson. “Florida is the third largest state in the nation yet didn’t have a grocers association. Our industry is too big and too important not to be served by an association dedicated to grocer’s needs. With substantial resources already in place, like our excellent Government Relations Team and topnotch administrative support, we will hit the ground running.”

FRF will unveil a new logo, updated website and other marketing support for the Association in the coming weeks.

FDA Delays Menu Labeling Until December 2016
The Florida Grocers Association is pleased to announce that the FDA has delayed the implementation of Menu Labeling until December 1st, 2016.

Menu labeling has been one of our top federal priority issues. While this rule only applies to 20 or more stores operating under the same banner, we have also remained concerned about the long-term effects and compliance issues it has for the entire retail food industry.

We are pleased with the work of our partners at FMI & NGA as well as our members who have vigorously advocated on this issue. It is our hope that this delay will provide for further technical clarification and ultimately lead to a less burdensome approach to final compliance.

Retirement of Coupon Barcodes effective as of June 30
FMI, NACDS, NGA, GMA and GS1 urge retailers to prepare for the retirement of UPC Prefix 5 barcodes from manufacturer coupons. These symbols will no longer be used after June 30, as manufacturers shift to exclusive use of the GS1 DataBar™ format for coupons. To ensure readiness, retailers may simply need to enable the functionality in their systems. In some instances, software and/or hardware modifications may be required. Courtesy of NGA.

Revisions to Overtime Pay
The Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long awaited proposed rulemaking that will make revisions to the overtime pay provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The proposal seeks to raise the salary test threshold from $23,660 a year to roughly $47,892 annually (or a projected $50,440 at the estimated time of the release of the final rule), meaning that individuals making less than $50,440 would be eligible for overtime pay if they are working in excess of 40 hour in a week. The proposed rule was published in the July 6, 2015 Federal Register with a 60-day comment period that closes on September 4th.

The Florida Grocers Association will be commenting and monitoring this overtime proposal carefully, as we believe this will have a significant impact on our Grocery Industry. Courtesy of FMI.

Good News! Expansion of SNAP Benefits
We are pleased to report that Randy Miller, FRF Executive Vice President, and his lobbying team, were able to secure the funding to expand the distribution of SNAP benefits from 15 days to 28 DAYS EACH MONTH!! This will be a major benefit to our members, as this will help with labor scheduling, balancing inventory and providing better service to your SNAP customers. In the past, with all the SNAP Benefits being distributed in just 15 days, grocers had a real surge in business and increased labor. This coupled with out of stocks and jammed isles created some challenges for the first half of each month.

With the distribution of SNAP (EBT) benefits spread over the entire month (28 days) this will even things out as it relates to labor hours, inventory and customer service. We will be meeting with the SNAP Administration to work out the details as the projected implementation date is March/April 2016. Thanks Randy and your team – for this a meaningful benefit to Florida Grocers and their SNAP Customers.

FDA Regional Food Safety Seminar
On behalf of the FDA’s Southeast Region Cooperative Programs Branch Retail Food Team and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, we are pleased to announce that the 2015 SER Retail Food Safety Seminar will be held in Baton Rouge, LA, from Monday, November 30, through Thursday, December 3.

This year’s seminar is hosted by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and will be held at the Crowne Plaza Baton Rouge, located at 4728 Constitution Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. Registration and a welcome reception are scheduled for Monday evening and the program concludes by noon on Thursday.

Additional information regarding hotel reservations, registration, and the agenda will be sent in the near future.

Recognizing our FGA Members

FMI Store Manager Awards:
Congratulations to Steve Gannon of Winn-Dixie – FMI’S 2015 “People’s Pick” Award
IDDBA Awards:
Congratulations to Donna Barley of Publix, Cape Coral – First Place Cake Decorating
Best in Business Awards:
Publix was recognized as a leader in Employing the Disabled

Congratulations to all of our winners!!!

Published in The Checkout
Tuesday, 18 August 2015 15:19

The Checkout - 8/18/2015

FDACS Changes Food Safety Inspection Scoring

YOU MAY OR MAY NOT KNOW, but on July 13th the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services changed the way Food Safety inspections were scored. The Department’s explanation for the change was to make the inspections more objective and reduce the subjectivity for the inspectors. It was also an attempt to bring consistency to the inspection process. While all of these objectives sound good and seem very desirable to the Grocery industry – the system appears to be flawed.

The Florida Grocers Association (formerly FRF Grocery Council), along with various food safety professionals, have examined the results of this new scoring and have found that there is a disproportionate number of failed inspections. We have discussed the scored results with the management staff of the Division of Food Safety as well as alerting the administration to the problems that are occurring with this scoring system. FDACS is willing to meet with members of the Florida Grocers Association to discuss the situation, answer our questions and resolve any concerns. If you have any questions that you want to submit, please email them to me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by Thursday, August 20th.

We have scheduled a meeting with the management team at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This is an important meeting and we are inviting any of our members to attend. Below are the details for that meeting:

Grocery Industry Meeting with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
DATE: Thursday, August 27th
TIME: 10:00 am
PLACE: Connor Building, 3125 Connor Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399

Published in The Checkout
Saturday, 19 September 2015 14:55

The Checkout - 9/16/2015

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Food Safety Meeting

The next Food Safety and Food Defense Advisory Council meeting is scheduled for October 16, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., in the Eyster Auditorium, located at 3125 Conner Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399.


Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): Update from FDACS regarding implementation plans and information specific to the Preventive Controls (PC) rules for Human Foods and Animal Foods Food Safety Training: Update from academic partners regarding upcoming food safety training programs to support both regulatory and regulated industries to comply with FSMA PC and Produce Safety rules.

Retail Food Safety Inspections: Update from FDACS regarding recent program changes to the food safety inspection program. Outbreak Updates: Information from our state and federal partners regarding recent foodborne illness outbreaks, including cucumbers contaminated with Salmonella Poona; Norovirus outbreaks in Florida, etc.

Oriental Fruit Fly: An update from FDACS regarding the quarantine imposed and emergency response to the Oriental Fruit Fly in Miami-Dade Co.

National Food Safety Education Month: An update from all stakeholders on consumer outreach efforts associated with food safety education, especially during the month of September.

Food Safety at Farmer’s Markets: Opportunities to provide food safety outreach and informed messaging addressing high risk foods such as raw milk (see attached photo).

Key Food Safety Meetings in 2016 (Informational):
BRC Food Safety of the Americas – Marriott Waterside in Tampa, FL: April 6 – 8
Global Food Safety Conference in Berlin, Germany: February 29 – March 3
Conference for Food Protection in Boise, ID: April 17 – 22
International Association for Food Protection in St. Louis, MO: July 31 – August 3
Safe Quality Foods International Conference in Orlando, FL: October 25 – 27

FDA Tobacco Notice
Please see the following message from FMI Regulatory Counsel, Stephanie Barnes, on FDA’s order to stop sale and distribution of certain R.J. Reynolds Tobacco products. Please contact Stephanie for more information (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued orders that will stop the further sale and distribution of four currently marketed R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company cigarette products – including its Camel Crush Bold brand – because the company’s submissions for these products did not meet requirements set forth in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The FDA’s evaluation found that Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13 cigarettes were not substantially equivalent (NSE).

When the FDA issues an NSE order, the tobacco product in inventory, including at a retail location, becomes adulterated and misbranded. As a result, it is illegal to sell or distribute the product in interstate commerce, or sell or distribute the product received from interstate commerce. Doing so may result in the FDA initiating enforcement action, including seizure, without further notice.

Recognizing that retailers may have limited options for disposing of products in their current inventories, the FDA indicated that they do not intend to take enforcement action for 30 days on previously purchased products that a retailer has in its inventory. Importantly, the policy does not apply to inventory purchased by retailers after the date of the order. FDA encourages retailers to contact their supplier or manufacturer to discuss possible options for existing inventories at specific retailer locations. Courtesy of the Food Marketing Institute.

Published in The Checkout