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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a story about how Giant Eagle is linking its frequent shopper card program with an automated notification system that will alert shoppers who have purchased products with food safety issues.

“Late Monday afternoon, employees at O'Hara grocer Giant Eagle Inc. got test results showing some hash brown products sold by the retailer contained a bacterium that can cause a potentially serious infection.” And, the Post-Gazette reports, “Within hours, an automated system was busy calling more than 300,000 Giant Eagle Advantage Card holders who records showed had purchased the affected product ... It was the first large-scale use of the grocer's automated notification system. So far, so good. Officials said many customers have thanked the company for the calls.

“Loyalty cards issued by grocers and other retailers have had their critics over the years, as some people worry about how much data the companies gather and others complain they shouldn't have to give up personal information in exchange for supermarket discounts.”
KC's View:
Except for people who are overly concerned about privacy issues - and they, after all, don’t have to use loyalty cards if they don’t want to - it is hard to imagine how this is anything but a win.

We make a big deal here about transparency, but it seems to me that part of responsible consumerism is agreeing to be part of the supply chain - consumers need to handle food safely, and when there is a problem in the system, accessible so that they can be advised. Not all consumers will agree with this, and I understand that. But for me, safety trumps privacy...as long as information is not abused by the companies to which it is entrusted.