Letter: Diverting Reduces Food Safety

Jan 26, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Virgil Horton, a self-described former grocery store professional with 30 years experience, claims in a letter to the editor on the GulfLive.com Web site that diverting may pose
a food safety threat.

Mr. Horton provides this background.

“Well, what happened about 15 years ago when grocers began to worry about competition from retail giants, a network was developed where grocery companies who are getting merchandise
at discount prices in one region would buy in excess and have the excess shipped to grocers in the regions that are not qualified for the current discount. The manufacturer is
not supposed to be aware that the merchandise is going out of the non-qualifying region. In fact when this was first started (and may still occur), the drivers picking up the
merchandise to be diverted was told to pick up the load and when he was out the manufacturer’s gate he was to call the grocer who ordered the merchandise and they would tell him
where to pick up new bills of lading and manifests, along with new delivery instructions.”

“To look at the directory of who was participating in diverting was like looking at the directory of the Food Marketing Institute,” adds Mr. Horton. “I have always felt like
this was a dangerous thing, because if one day a very major food contamination occurs, there is no way food can be traced.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is Virgil Horton correct, are most supermarket companies involved in diverting? Does the practice of diverting represent a potential
threat to the food supply?

Anderson – Moderator

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