The International Association for Food Protection selected The Kroger Co. as the 2012 recipient of the Black Pearl Award.

The International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), Des Moines, Iowa, selected The Kroger Co. as the 2012 recipient of the Black Pearl Award. Sponsored by Wilbur Feagan and F & H Food Equipment Co., the Black Pearl Award will be presented at IAFP’s Annual Meeting in Providence, R.I., in July.

This honor is given annually to one company for its efforts in advancing food safety and quality through consumer programs, employee relations, educational activities, adherence to standards and support of the goals and objectives of IAFP.

Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, The Kroger Co. is the largest traditional supermarket retailer in the United States. Kroger’s 339,000 associates serve customers in 2,435 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names, including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. The company also operates 791 convenience stores, 348 fine jewelry stores, 1,090 supermarket fuel centers and 39 food processing plants in the United States. With more than 11,000 corporate brand items per store, Kroger has the largest private label lineup of any traditional grocery retailer. Kroger consistently upholds the highest standards of food safety and risk prevention and applies the same criteria to all private label suppliers and vendors.

Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations in the communities it serves. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 125 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners.

"For Kroger and our family of supermarkets, food safety is the core of our operations,” says David Dillon, corporate chairman and CEO. “We simply cannot succeed as a business without exceeding everyone's expectations for sanitation, food safety and quality-from our customers and associates to our board of directors and U.S. regulatory agencies. Our committed team of food safety experts focuses on risk prevention, continuous improvement and innovation in food protection. Kroger's ‘Customer 1st’ business strategy reminds all of our managers and associates-in every store, plant, warehouse and office-to keep customers top of mind in every business decision we make. Nowhere is this more important than in food safety."