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Did You Know? Commissary Food Safety

Your Commissary: A Safe & Secure Shopping Environment

We at the Defense Commissary Agency are proud to deliver the commissary benefit to our military customers in a safe and secure shopping environment. The Health & Safety Directorate at our headquarters oversees food safety and public health for all commissaries. Army Veterinary Corps warrant officers or their civilian equivalents serve in this directorate as Area Consumer Safety officers who support store directors and their sanitation coordinators in complying with food safety and quality assurance practices.

But did you know that commissaries offer an extra layer of protection not available at commercial stores to help ensure the safety of the grocery and household products we sell? We have medical food inspectors from the U.S. Army Veterinary Service and U.S. Air Force Public Health performing formal sanitary evaluations to ensure compliance with the military’s Tri-Service Food Code.

Some of the many ways this system works to help create a safe and secure shopping environment for commissary customers include:

  • Conducting routine walk-through inspections and receipt inspections of deliveries
  • Monitoring refrigeration units and addressing refrigeration failure
  • Investigating consumer complaints
  • Auditing facilities to ensure compliance with DoD standards, because we only purchase food from approved sources
  • Issuing food recalls and product safety alerts and carrying them out in our stores. You can find notifications of these on our website.

“Your Commissary has military food inspectors routinely performing inspections and providing other food safety support to the stores — as frequently as daily at some installations — which is something you won’t find at any other grocery store.”

-LTC Angela M. Parham, Public Health and Safety Director, Defense Commissary Agency

Commissary Shopping Tips

CW2 Eric Deguzman picks up raw meat using a plastic bag at the Fort Lee Commissary.
CW2 Eric Deguzman uses a plastic bag to pick up raw meat at the Fort Lee Commissary.

Here are some simple commissary shopping tips from one of our Area Consumer Safety Officers, CW2 Eric Deguzman:

  1. Wipe down your shopping cart with disinfectant wipes, which are typically offered near the entrance of each store.
  2. To help keep your food selection as fresh as possible, shop for dry goods first, then shop for frozen foods and select refrigerated foods last.
  3. To help prevent contamination, pick up raw meat and poultry products using plastic bags that Your Commissary makes available, and then carry the products in these bags. Make sure to separate beef, pork and poultry!
  4. Wash your reusable bags at least monthly — or more often, if needed.
  5. Bring ice packs and/or coolers with ice to use for packing your frozen and refrigerated purchases if your trip home will take you 2 hours or more — or more than an hour, if it’s a hot day!

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