The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced its endorsement of the Rapid Recall Exchange, an online service that standardizes and accelerates food and product recalls and withdrawals. Kroger will be the first national retail chain to encourage its suppliers to subscribe to this industry-leading program.

The Rapid Recall Exchange, developed by GS1 US in collaboration with the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association, is the industry’s only online standardized recall notification system. Using consistent forms and processes, retailers receive the same complete information, including product images and handling instructions, when a recall is issued.

"Using Rapid Recall Exchange provides Kroger with timely and accurate recall data. The need for speed is crucial in recall situations and this will help us be more efficient in removing recalled product from our shelves and communicating with our customers about recalls," said Dr. Payton Pruett, vice president of corporate food safety for Kroger.

Kroger is asking all suppliers to subscribe by July 1, 2010. Suppliers using the Rapid Recall Exchange can provide all critical recall information in one communication – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – quickly alerting retailers. This enables retailers like Kroger to quickly remove recalled products and reach out to customers about recalls.

Kroger is an industry leader in recall communication efforts. Using its customer loyalty database, Kroger is able to notify customers via register receipts and phone calls about recalls of products they may have purchased. Kroger has a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week process in place to coordinate recalls, and works quickly and effectively to remove from sale products that have been recalled or withdrawn.