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Safeway to Further Restrict Meth Access as New Laws Kick In

PLEASANTON, Calif. -- In light of the new federal laws passed yesterday establishing uniform standards for the sale of cough and cold products containing methamphetamine precursors, Safeway Inc. said today it plans to take additional measures to restrict the sale and availability of products containing (PSE) in its stores.

Beginning on March 1, Safeway reduced the number of such products available for sale in stores to approximately 17, down from more than 75 products a year ago. Products containing PSE can now only be purchased from Safeway pharmacies.

Safeway stores without a pharmacy will only sell cold and flu medications that do not contain PSE. As the new law takes effect, the company is moving forward with plans to put in place additional sales limits, and to require identification and the signing of a logbook to comply with federal requirements.

"Reducing the number of products available and by placing these products behind the pharmacy will do a great deal to ensure their use only for legitimate purposes," said Safeway e.v.p. Larree M. Renda.

In June of 2005, Safeway voluntarily moved all single-ingredient PSE products to secure locations in its stores. While complying with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations, the company has had a longstanding policy of limiting multiple quantity purchases of products containing PSE in its stores. Additionally, Safeway has been active in establishing "meth watch" programs in various states, working with local law enforcement to ensure only legitimate sales and purchases of these products.

As the federal government has moved to address the "meth" problem, Safeway is urging additional action to combat the growing problem of organized retail crime (ORC). The organized theft and resale of retail products on the black market has grown substantially in the past year, according to the retailer. Organized retail crime rings are providing an easy source of cash that is being used to fund drug use and other illegal activities in communities across the United States.

Safeway, along with other retailers and law enforcement organizations, is urging legislative action to address the growing ORC crisis, which costs the retail industry approximately $35 billion annually in stolen goods and products. Additionally, the theft of these goods results in lost tax revenues for government in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Many of these stolen goods are being sold over the Internet and at flea markets around the country without consumers knowing the products could be stolen or counterfeit products. Safeway is particularly concerned about stolen goods with expiration dates, such as infant formula or other consumer health products, where product tampering can impact the public health.

Safeway Inc. operates 1,775 stores in the United States and Canada and had annual sales of $38.4 billion in 2005.
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