Position Statements FAQ
What is Publix’s position on Florida tomato farmworkers’ wages?
If you're seeking information from Publix regarding the CIW campaign against food retailers, we have included a detailed summary for your review.
As with any issue, we believe that in order to make an informed opinion and balanced story, one must have all the details and view a complete picture. We hope the detailed explanation will answer all the questions you might have. We appreciate you taking the time to seek clarification as opposed to casting judgment prior to receiving all the facts.
What is Publix's position on GMOs and bioengineered foods?
At Publix, we work hard every day to provide our customers safe, high quality products. We want our customers to have confidence in the products we sell and to have access to foods that fit their preferences. We understand that many of our customers are interested in knowing more about genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”) in the food they eat. We agree there is a need to educate the public about genetic modification and other forms of biotechnology. We believe consumers should have access to consistent, accurate, and relevant information about the products they buy. Publix, much like American consumers, looks to federal agencies, such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to set product labeling and standards for foods, including information about GMOs and bioengineering.
According to the FDA, a GMO is a plant, animal, or microorganism that has had its genetic material (DNA) changed using technology that involves the specific modification of DNA, including the transfer of specific DNA from one organism to another. Scientists also call this process “genetic engineering.” “Bioengineered food” is the term that Congress chose to describe certain types of GMOs when it passed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. USDA defines bioengineered foods to mean those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through certain lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature. Starting in January 2022, the Standard will require food manufacturers, importers, and other entities that label foods for retail sale to disclose information to you about foods that are bioengineered or that contain bioengineered ingredients. Current foods on the USDA list of bioengineered foods include: Alfalfa, Apple (Arctic™ varieties), Canola, Corn, Cotton, Eggplant (BARI Bt Begun Varieties), Papaya (ringspot virus-resistant varieties), Potato, Salmon (AquAdvantage®), Soybean, Summer Squash, and Sugarbeet. For more information about The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, passed by Congress in July of 2016, please visit the following USDA website.
There are certain things we know about GMOs and bioengineered foods. GMO foods have been available to consumers for many years. Scientific studies and evaluations by several health and regulatory agencies have found GMOs to be safe. GMOs can reduce pesticides and water use on farms, which benefits our environment and could reduce product costs for customers. In 2020, the FDA released Feed Your Mind, an education initiative to help consumers better understand genetically engineered foods. Details of this program can be found on the following FDA website.
We understand that some customers may want to avoid GMOs and bioengineered foods. For these customers, we recommend our growing selection of certified organic products, which are made without the use of GMOs and genetic engineering. In addition, customers can review a food’s label to understand if the food is a bioengineered food. As with all things, the final decision regarding which products to choose is always yours.
What is Publix's position on BPA?
Publix is committed to meeting the highest standards of safety for every product we carry. Our mission is to offer a wide variety of safe and affordable food choices for you and your family.
Safety not only includes the food products themselves, but the packaging they come in. We understand that some of our customers may be interested in knowing more about Bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical is added to some plastic containers and can liners to keep products fresh and to inhibit package corrosion. We believe you have a right to know about the use of BPA in Publix products and we are happy to share information about our products, policies and safety information.
Publix’s drink bottles, milk jugs and water jugs/bottles do not contain BPA, nor do Publix storage bags or our register receipt paper. While the linings for our canned products do contain BPA (excluding GreenWise Market brand canned vegetables, beans and tomatoes), the tested levels are well below those established as safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Due to concerns shared by Publix and our customers, we initiated conversations with our Publix brand suppliers requesting information on alternatives to BPA in packaged food containers. This included requests for the evaluation of alternative linings that would achieve the same level of shelf life, sterilization and safety that linings with BPA provide. While some manufacturers were able to make this change, many suppliers of canned goods still have a thin lining containing a small amount of BPA to help maintain the integrity of the products.
The FDA conducted a safety assessment between 2009 and 2013 and determined that dietary exposure to BPA in packaging with levels in the very low parts per billion range was well below the levels that would cause adverse health effects. In 2014, the agency announced BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in food packaging. Regardless, Publix is committed to being a champion for our customers, and we will continue to work with our Publix brand suppliers to limit the use of BPA in food packaging.
Your safety and health are top priorities for Publix. We strive to ensure that you have absolute confidence in the products we sell and access to foods that fit your preferences.
Does Publix use irradiation?
We do not currently offer irradiated meats and have no plans to add them. With that said, most spices are irradiated. We do use spices on some value-added meat and seafood products.
Food irradiation is a process designed to kill harmful bacteria which cause food-borne illnesses with a controlled amount of radiant energy. The process can also control insects and parasites, and reduce spoilage. It has been endorsed by food and nutrition professionals including the American Dietetic Association, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Organization.
What is Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)?
The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law requires country of origin labeling information to appear on certain foods produced or packaged after September 30, 2008. The law applies only to the following foods: beef, pork, lamb, chicken, goat meat, seafood, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, pecans, peanuts, macadamia nuts, and ginseng. The law doesn't apply to processed foods or foods that are sold by restaurants, food-service establishments, butcher shops, seafood stores, or very small grocery stores. Processed foods include products that are cooked, smoked, cured, roasted, or combined with other foods.
For more information on the country of origin labeling requirements, please visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.
What is Publix's position on animal welfare?
At Publix, we believe animals should be treated humanely at all phases of their lives. We recognize we have a responsibility for the well-being of animals used to provide food to our customers.
Our goal is that animals used in the production of our products be handled, transported and processed using procedures that are clean, safe, and free from cruelty, abuse or neglect. Our suppliers of animal products must adopt procedures that adhere to the animal welfare standards established by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Further, these procedures must be consistent with industry best practices and comply with all animal handling and animal welfare guidelines established by each respective species’ industry organization. The USDA provides a listing of these industry animal welfare standards on the agency’s website.
We take concerns about animal welfare seriously and our suppliers provide us with third-party audits on an annual basis. This validates their practices meet or exceed animal welfare standards while maintaining animal health and safety.
Many of our suppliers are leaders in their respective industries and have adopted nationally recognized animal well-being programs, including the following:
- Animal Welfare Act
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association – Cattle Industry Guidelines for the Care and Handling of Cattle
- National Chicken Council – Animal Welfare Guidelines
- National Milk Producers Federation – National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (F.A.R.M.) Program
- National Pork Board – Animal Well-Being Information
- National Turkey Federation – Animal Care Best Management Practices for the Production of Turkeys
- United Egg Producers – Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg Laying Flocks
We understand the high standards expected of us and will continue to work to provide our customers with safe and quality products, while encouraging the humane treatment of animals.
For more information on our natural and organic products, including our own GreenWise brand, please visit http://www.publix.com/products-services/greenwise.
For more information about our position on cage-free eggs, please read the FAQ below.
What is Publix's position on cage-free eggs?
At Publix, we are committed to providing our customers with a premier shopping experience, which includes a wide selection of quality products, friendly and helpful service, and superior value. We understand eggs are an affordable way for families to incorporate protein into their diets, and many of these families are interested in the source of their food. We understand the high standards expected of us and will continue to work to provide our customers with quality products and a variety of choices, while ensuring food safety and animal welfare.
Because we take concerns about animal welfare seriously, we have been diligently working with our egg suppliers, industry leaders, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations to better understand the timing of converting our shell egg supply to completely cage-free, while meeting customer demand, remaining affordable, and maintaining animal health and safety. In addition to animal welfare concerns, there are several other factors to consider: the higher costs and retail price associated with cage-free eggs, the speed of this industry change, and the ability of smaller farms to remain in business while making necessary investments to convert more production to cage-free eggs.
Since making our announcement in 2016, we have increased the number of cage free egg options by over 27%. Now, 57% of our total shell egg offerings are cage free. We continue to partner with egg suppliers to promote our cage free options in the weekly ad frequently throughout the year, but until customer choice and conversion rates increase, our ability to expand this program will remain challenging. Today, with the negative financial impact from COVID-19, we continue to see the majority of our customers purchasing the conventional eggs due to the lower price per dozen.
We appreciate the trust our customers place in us to do the right thing and will continue to work to provide our customers with quality products and a variety of choices, while ensuring food safety and animal welfare. We are committed to moving forward with this challenging and complex effort and will continue to work toward being 100 percent cage free by 2026.
What is Publix's position on antibiotic reduction in chicken?
At Publix, we are committed to providing our customers premier service and safe, high quality foods. As a responsible corporate citizen, we also recognize our role in helping maintain public health, especially as it relates to antibiotic stewardship in the food supply. Healthy and well cared for animals are directly related to the quality and safety of our food supply.
Recent concerns about antibiotics in the food supply have been raised with respect to the chicken industry. For the past several years, Publix has met with our chicken suppliers and discussed the importance of proper antibiotic stewardship. When provided, antibiotics are administered to chickens to prevent animal suffering. The majority of chickens in the Publix supply chain never receive any human antibiotics. For the limited number that may receive antibiotics, it is through a prescribed use under the direction of licensed and USDA-accredited veterinarians. We have also held conversations with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as non-government organizations (NGOs) to discuss our collaborative efforts with suppliers to reduce the use of antibiotics in the food supply.
For customers desiring an antibiotic free option, we offer a wide variety of Publix GreenWise branded meat products.
As part of our commitment to programs designed to protect animal well-being programs and the continued safety of public health, we will continue our efforts to be part of the solution for responsible antibiotic stewardship. For additional information related to antibiotic resistance and food safety, we recommend customers visit the CDC website.
What is Publix's stance on Bovine Somatotropin (BST)?
Publix milk is rBST-free (no added artificial hormones). However, the FDA has stated that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows.
Do I need to be concerned about mercury in seafood?
You may have heard some concerns about mercury in certain species of fish. By understanding the facts, you can ensure that you minimize any risk and get all of the many health benefits that seafood has to offer.
The mercury precautions issued by the FDA and EPA apply only to young children and women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing.
It's recommended that those in the at-risk groups not eat the following due to high levels of mercury:
- king mackerel
Those needing to avoid mercury might choose from these popular fish that are low in mercury:
- farmed and wild shrimp
- canned light tuna
- farmed and wild salmon
- farmed tilapia
- farmed catfish
What are your social and environmental stewardship efforts?
Corporate Sustainability Statement
Publix's continued success depends upon sustaining our environment, the people in our company and communities, and our business. Publix has always been committed to the responsible use of environmental resources.
At Publix, our goal is to meet today's needs without compromising what is essential for tomorrow. Simply stated, this means taking care of people and minimizing impact to our planet while remaining profitable. Sustainability is ingrained in our culture and represented in our Mission Statement through valuing our associates, serving our customers, enhancing our ties to the communities we serve, conserving natural resources, and ensuring economic stewardship for our stockholders.
Learn more about Publix's sustainability efforts, and how you can Get Into a Green Routine.