The shopper loyalty cards that your grocery store provides can have a higher purpose than giving you discounts, profiling your shopping habits, and racking up points for rewards programs. Loyalty card data can also help track down the source of foodborne pathogens, retaining records of specific brands and items that customers probably won’t remember. Trying to find the source of a mysterious salmonella outbreak, the CDC mined grocery loyalty card data to narrow the source down to specific brands of Italian cured meat.
Last week, 1.2 million pounds of various cured meats made by Rhode Island’s Daniele International but sold under different names were recalled due to possible salmonella poisoning. Labels the affected meats were sold under include Daniele, Dietz & Watson, Black Bear of the Black Forest, and Boar’s Head.