Improving Food Safety

The Lempert Report
May 15, 2015

Independent companies like IEH Laboratories are helping retailers, help shoppers!

It's an unfortunate truth, but you can't always trust labels on the food products you buy to accurately describe the food and it's ingredients.  Sometimes products are contaminated by outside ingredients, or maybe even suppliers or manufacturers don't share the total truth. So, how can retailers help their consumers? 

Some use outside companies who can test for contaminants, or verify if a product is really, for example, organic or GMO free. One company that does this is IEH Laboratories. According to, Founder, Mansour Samadpour describes the company as “a privately financed public health organization.” He started the companies' first lab in 2001 and it's now grown to 116 labs across the U.S. and Europe, with more than 1,500 workers. With growing consumer concerns about health and food ingredients, IEH could continue to expand.

While some retailers don't want to put off customers by openly using the lab, Costco is one food retailer that's proud to use it. Why? They want customers to know that they expect products to live up to the standards they have on their labels. VP for quality assurance and food safety at Costco, Craig Wilson, told the New York Times: “We have to inspect what we expect.” According to Wilson says that he uses the government guidelines as a minimum standard, but always tries to go above and beyond them. 

IEH is working to change the way food safety works by encouraging retailers to be proactive instead of reactive. Other retailers could follow the example set by Costo and not only use, but openly use such independent channels. In a time when consumers are expecting more transparency with the ingredients they use and the products they buy, having a sense of trust in your supermarket is crucial. Consumers want to know that their food is safe and the products they're buying live up to the standards they claim. Retailers that take the extra step to ensure customers get what they pay for will go a long way.