According to Statista 86% of Americans are seriously to moderately concerned about health or safety related food recalls. And rightfully so, considering that many foodborne illnesses are potentially lethal, including salmonella, E. coli, listeria, and even Hepatitis A. As a core concern of American families, there is nothing more important to preserving your brand image than maintaining a safe and clean food supply chain. Do you remember the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA)? In 2008, they were forced out of business shortly after it was discovered that they were the cause of a major salmonella outbreak. More than 700 people became seriously ill. 9 people died. The PCA underwent Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is still fighting civil lawsuits in court to this day. The damage didn’t stop there either, but extended to retailers who used the peanuts in their products. PCA had distributed contaminated peanuts as raw goods for companies such as Kellogg and Walmart, costing the two retailers over $70 million in recall related expenses. This may be an extreme example, but it is an eye-opening anecdote illustrating the potential impact that poor oversight of your food supply chain can have.
As you can see, it is not enough to control what happens inside your facility. Your suppliers and vendors are also responsible for the safety of your products. In recent news, a Chinese meat processor came under fire for selling expired and contaminated meat to popular fast food chains, including McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell. Already, Yum! Brands, owners of KFC and Taco Bell, have announced huge losses of sales and a 5% slump in their stock. As you can see, it is not enough to oversee your own operations. It is crucial to have oversight of your supplier’s operations in order to ensure that what comes in the door is safe.