Safeway admits shipping foods in unrefrigerated car trunks : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Posted at 2:26 p.m. PST Friday, November 3, 2000

Safeway admits shipping foods in unrefrigerated car trunks SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Safeway Inc., mired in a labor dispute with drivers and warehouse workers, admitted it has transported food in the backseats and trunks of cars in an effort to keep store shelves stocked.

The Teamsters showed videotapes and photographs Thursday of Safeway personnel loading boxes of food into cars. Those unrefrigerated conditions are unacceptable, state health officials said.

``They should not be shipping food in trunks of cars. That's clearly not acceptable,'' said Jim Waddell of the California Department of Health Services.

Safeway officials said the car deliveries of perishables were only used for short 10-15 minute trips, but Teamsters said chicken and potato salad were shipped as far as 40 miles in vehicles without refrigeration.

Safeway spokeswoman Debra Lambert says the car deliveries were made by store and delicatessen managers qualified in food safety and handling, and that the practice was ``the exception rather than the rule.''

``Food safety has always been one of our top priorities and the current labor dispute has not changed that,'' Lambert said. ``The irresponsible claims made by the Teamsters regarding the safety of certain products are simply not true.''

Safeway's difficulties continue to mount in the face of a strike that has crippled deliveries to 245 stores in Northern California, Nevada and Hawaii.

Teamsters Local 439 walked out Oct. 18 from the massive Summit Logistics warehouse in Tracy that supplies Safeway stores, claiming unsafe working conditions and low wages.

Safeway has laid off as many as 300 part-time store clerks because the strike has left store workers with fewer groceries to handle, officials for the chain said.

-- Martin Thompson (, November 05, 2000

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