Food Emporium Claims First Chain Stores to Cut Certified Organic Beef

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Food Emporium Claims First Chain Stores to Cut Certified Organic Beef

NEW YORK -- The Food Emporium, A&P's specialty gourmet grocery chain, said yesterday it would become the first major grocery store chain to be USDA-certified to handle and cut organic beef in its full-service meat departments.

Sixteen New York City-area Food Emporiums locations will begin cutting fresh certified organic steaks in-house as a value-added program for customers on Thursday. The chain operates a total of 29 stores in New York and Connecticut.

"With this organic certification, we have raised the standard of our full-service meat departments by making organic a centerpiece in the premium, gourmet experience we offer our customers," said Ray Donnelly, senior merchant meat and seafood for the Food Emporium, in a statement.

Working with Howard, S.D.-based certified organic beef company Dakota Beef, LLC, the retailer underwent a stringent certification and verification process by International Certification Services to enable it to handle organic beef in accordance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program (NOP). Without such certification, grocers can sell only prepackaged certified organic beef.

"What this [certification] ultimately does is ensure the USDA organic seal stands for something with integrity," said Dakota Beef founder Scott Lively. "This is just the beginning of a positive new trend for our industry. We expect to announce several other major retailers who are following The Food Emporium's lead with certified organic meat counters."