Safeway admitted last week that it has transported perishable food in the trunks and back seats of cars instead of refrigerated trucks as it struggles to keep store shelves stocked during a Teamsters strike.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Safeway executives told Jim Waddell, acting chief of the food and safety section of California’s Department of Health Services, that they had been using clean vehicle to transport the food but are now using only refrigerated trucks to ship perishables.
"They should not be shipping food in trunks of cars, that's clearly not acceptable," Waddell told the paper.
Safeway has been struggling to transport merchandise to stores since Teamsters Local 439 went on strike Oct. 18 against Summit Logistics, which runs a distribution center in Tracy that supplies 245 Safeway stores.
The Teamsters have focused their public relations battle against Safeway, even though it is not the object of the protest. They called for a boycott two weeks ago, and late last week accused the grocery store chain of threatening the public's health by shipping perishables in store employees' cars.
A news conference was called Thursday to draw attention to Safeway's use of unrefrigerated vehicles to transport frozen chicken, potato salad and other perishables.
With its ability to learn, artificial intelligence might just be the tool that more accurately predicts a pending problem — and does so in enough time for the fleet to take meaningful action.