Tag. You are it. Product safety risk concerns more than just food born illnesses.

December 17th, 2008

Do retail companies have an extended risk window from the sale of tainted foods? Please read on.

Do retail companies have an extended risk window from the sale of tainted foods? Please read on.

This author posed the above question just two days ago. Perhaps I should have expanded the subject beyond retail companies to all companies and all products.

Beyond the obvious social costs associated with responsibility and culpability in the sale and consumption of tainted foods and other products such as toys, the potential for huge litigation costs can put any company at risk for years after an incident actually happens. How traceable is your data?

In the Tuesday December 16th edition of USA TODAY it was reported that Mattel will pay $12M to 39 states to settle an investigation over Chinese-made lead tainted toys shipped to the USA during 2007. Mattel and its Fisher-Price unit recalled more than 21 million Chinese made toys last year.

As part of the agreement Mattel also agreed to lower the acceptable level of lead in toys shipped to the U.S. to 90 parts per million, down from 600 parts per million which is the federal standard until next year when it too will drop to 90 parts per million. I?m not sure I want any lead in my products please.

I wonder how many jobs could have been created with $12M in extra profit. According to IRS data 50% of the US makes below $32,000. If we use $32,000 as a base, $12M would create 375 jobs. The federal minimum wage is $6.55. For a forty hour week an extra $12M could provide enough money to generate 880 jobs. It does not solve our current economic condition, but baby steps certainly help.

In these tough economic times, there are certainly 800 people that would like a job. Are you comfortable that all of your products are as safe as they can be? Ask your spend management solution provider what they can do to help mitigate your future risk.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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