Safe Products

We are committed to ensuring that every product we sell is safe.  Technologists in our buying offices provide expert guidance on consumer legislation.  They are responsible for ensuring we maintain rigorous supplier approval and product safety processes.

Our experienced technical teams focus on preventing issues occurring by specifying inherently safe products that are sourced from a reliable supply base.  We have clear and robust product approval protocols.  Product Technologists assess each product for the level of risk it presents, ensuring it undergoes suitable testing and inspections. Twice a year, John Lewis completes random product checks.  Product Technologists and Buyers also visit a proportion of our supply base to monitor production site processes.

In 2015 John Lewis formed the Product Safety Working Group. One of the roles of the group is to review our product safety procedures to ensure they remain fit for purpose, and to identify areas for improvement.

At Waitrose we have a risk assessed testing programme to check the microbiological, chemical, nutritional and compositional integrity of our products. Independent third party audits are carried out on our own-brand manufacturing sites.  These are tested against recognised Global Product Safety Standards such as the BRC Global Food Safety Standard.  In addition, we contract auditors to visit our supply base to monitor factory processes and compliance with our policies.

Customers looking at technology products

Taking Action on Safety

If product issues do occur our Product Technologists investigate the matter.  We have a robust process in place if we need to withdraw or recall a product.  We then take steps to prevent this happening again.  In 2015/16 at John Lewis we withdrew 16 products, nine of which were own-brand products and recalled 12, two of which were own-brand products for safety reasons.  At Waitrose during 2015 we withdrew 74 and recalled six own-brand products.

Following concerns around the flammability of fancy dress outfits, John Lewis worked with the British Retail Consortium to introduce additional labelling and testing requirements for these items. We also worked with RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) to develop a customer safety guide for Halloween.

For further detail on food safety and hygiene, please see

Roast chicken

Tackling Campylobacter - 'Farm to Fork'

Moy Park has been a supplier of Waitrose’s chicken for over three decades.  We have dedicated areas within its estate that have been built according to our own chicken welfare specifications.  For a number of years we have been conducting research with Moy Park to reduce the presence of Campylobacter – the UK’s leading cause of food poisoning – on whole fresh chickens.  This year, we released trial results which show significant reductions in the presence of Campylobacter and positive progress towards achieving the Food Standards Agency’s targets for 2015 – find out more at