AS THE public continues to flock to supermarkets to stock up on basic needs amid the Covid-19 crisis, the burden remains on retail operators to ensure the safety of their customers and employees.
Homegrown retailer Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI) has received additional recognition for its best practices in food safety and sanitation. The development makes MRSGI the only retailer in the country with the distinction of holding Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for three of its supermarkets.
Metro Supermarket in Alabang Town Center is the latest store to be re-certified. Metro Ayala Cebu and Metro Supermarket Market! Market! received re-certification for these food safety and sanitation standards earlier this year.
The international certifications boost Metro’s reputation as a premier retailer with a choice selection of products and services.
GMP and HACCP are two separate systems, both designed to guarantee the safety of food and food production.
Manuel Alberto, president and chief operating officer of MRSGI, shared that the new certifications are proof of the company’s commitment to health and safety.
“Communities depend on Metro Supermarkets for their essentials goods and fresh produce. As such, ensuring customer and employee’s safety in these crucial locations is always top of mind. We want customers to feel safe while shopping for their families,” said Alberto.
Metro Supermarket personnel or “Fresh” associates abide by the most stringent measures in safety.
Their day starts with a temperature check at the employee entrance. They accomplish a daily health and travel monitoring checklist and follow strict hygiene protocols including neat haircuts, absence of facial hair, trimmed fingernails, and wearing of a clean and complete uniform.
“Employees understand that following these protocols can and do make a difference in safeguarding our customers’ health,” explained Alberto.
All personnel are mandated to wear their personal protective equipment complete with face mask and face shield. Additional hygiene clothing is worn before entering the Fresh Section. This includes a hairnet, cap, apron and switching from street shoes to working shoes.
Employees are also required to wear disposable gloves when handling ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products.
To promote physical distancing and less contact transactions, Metro has also implemented a zoning policy to restrict the movement of employees. Plastic barriers are installed in areas where close contact might be possible between workers and customers.
On top of these, Metro’s Corporate Safety unit set additional protocols and implemented a cleaning and sanitizing program for areas frequented by shoppers and employees.
Before and after store operations, comprehensive decontamination is done using a misting and spraying machine, and a Department of Health-approved disinfection solution. Hourly disinfection is also done on high-touch areas and surfaces, including elevator buttons, baskets and trolleys.
Floors and walls, selling areas, as well as the receiving bays and docks are cleaned and sanitized every four hours. Supervisors and managers inspect the area every opening and closing of the stores.
“We honor the trust that our customers continue to put in Metro. They inspire us to pursue new levels of safety excellence and to constantly improve our operations,” Alberto said. (PR)