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Recalls may come in, but products don't go out at Kadena's commissary

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Kadena's commissary takes safety seriously when it comes to keeping recalled food from getting into the carts of its customers. 

The Defense Commissary Agency's mission is to provide groceries to military members, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. With the various food recalls in the past few months, the commissary either wasn't affected or acted quickly to minimize the impact on base. 

"As soon as a recall comes in, we immediately pull it off the shelf and then check our back log for any more we may have," explained Daniel Smith, the commissary administrator at Kadena Air Base. "We then call our distribution center and make sure whatever the recalled food is that it doesn't make it in the next shipment to Okinawa." 

Commissary food takes around six weeks to get to overseas locations like Okinawa so many times grocery stockers can get to the food before it hits the shelves. But if a recall comes out after products are sold, the Kadena commissary puts the priority on safety. 

"We want to make sure it's properly disposed of. "We pull the product out, and then destroy it properly so it doesn't make it back into the food system," said Mr. Smith. "We (the store) can then get a reimbursement on the food purchased so there's no lost expense to the government." 

He also explained that customers can also get their money back if they bought recalled food by bringing it back to the store. Mr. Smith said bringing the recalled food back to the store goes further than getting a refund. 

"We need to make sure it's properly disposed of. If you throw it in your garbage; dogs, cats or other animals can get into it or other people can be affected. It's health and you can't put a price on health. So please bring it back to us so we can take care of it properly." 

To learn more about DECA and other recalls that may affect you, visit www.commissaries.com or check with your local commissary.