Beyond the obvious social costs associated with responsibility and culpability in the sale and consumption of tainted foods, the potential for huge litigation costs can put your company at risk for years after an incident actually happened.
I was reading the Sunday June 15th 2008 issue of The Arizona Republic and found a short article in the week in review section titled Girl’s tainted-food death brings $13 mil settlement. This unfortunate incident actually occurred eight years ago at a Sizzler restaurant. The settlement was with the company’s meat supplier and others according to court records. Evidently, Brianna Kriefall did not even eat meat. She actually ate watermelon that had touched the tainted meat and passed away a week later. Additionally, one hundred and forty other people became ill from the outbreak in two sizzlers.
Today there is still a lawsuit ongoing where the national Sizzler chain and an insurance company are suing Excel Corporation a meat producer that is a subsidiary of Cargill Inc.
Beyond the settlement listed the actual legal and other expenses associated with this case may never be known, but with retail industry net profit averaging about 3.4% you can bet the impact on earnings to be significant for some CEO.
It is important to know where your products come from with a clear trail to the original source of supply, and what your suppliers are doing in the way of certifications such as GFSI and SQF to insure the quality of the food chain for retailers and their consumers.
I look forward to your comments.