In the last week there have been two very significant product contaminations.
One was a cleaning cloth in a fast food restaurant product and the other was a contamination in another chain’s product. A cleaning cloth was somehow coated and then deep fried before being given to a customer in the UK. The customer who had bought the “chicken” for her stepson, was understandably not very impressed.
The second incident has a slightly unusual twist as the contamination was a small packet of marijuana found tucked in with the fries when a customer ordered a burger and fries. Although some are saying that the customer actually got a bonus and not a contamination, it is certainly not something that should be in a food product. The mother who bought the offending fries and pack, is screaming very loudly about the possibility that her kids could have got it or it may have been a packet containing other types of drugs.
Many food businesses will most likely end up with a contamination that makes it all the way out to the customer. This is immensely embarrassing for the business, as well as causing significant money loss through loss of trade and possible recalls and fines.
The two contaminations described above are not really that rare, but what makes these and all contaminations a major problem now is that everyone has a camera in their pocket and access to social media. This spreads your small contained incident across the world and does almost irreparable damage to your brand internationally.
The old rule that one person tells ten, no longer applies as it really comes down to how many connections or likes or friends they have in the cyber world and where they all are. This absolutely cannot be considered lightly.
Food safety controls and programs are, if possible, even more important now that they ever were, due to this instant ability customers have to complain about your product / service/ quality or contaminations to the whole world.
Contaminations happen because something went wrong and usually it is because staff were not doing what they are supposed to. This means good procedures,training and follow up as the basics. A business that has a public contamination like these two examples, must do everything possible to firstly prevent it happening again, or anything like it, and then market like crazy to show what it has done to prevent it. Hopefully it is enough to gain sales back – at least that is what the owners, directors and managers pray for.
Written by Rachelle Williams, The Green Food Safety Coach.