So, it is left to public opinion to decide the fate of Bernard Matthews with news that the Food Standards Agency is not going to prosecute following the bird flu crisis earlier this year.
Sales fell 40% following the outbreak – leading to an initial loss of 130 jobs, with a further 500 threatened. However, the company claims the FSA’s decision reinforces that it
has acted with the utmost integrity and cooperated fully with the relevant authorities. We have systems in place to ensure we meet and in some cases exceed the measures imposed by Defra, the FSA and the Meat Hygiene Service.
The decision seems to show little genuine concern for public health – although there was no risk from bird flu, some of the practices seems less than hygenic and questionable in terms of treatment of the birds.
Needless to say the Transport and General Workers’ Union, which represents workers at the factor reports feeling “a mixture of relief, vindication and confidence.”
Just like Tesco/Morrison and contaminated fuel, Cadbury and its poor production processes, and the current US pet food scare to give just three examples, it seems all about dodge and recover rather than genuine responsibility
Personally, I’m fed up with companies treating consumers poorly – crisis management seems to involve employing public relations to apologise, but little effort to avoid or resolve issues.
Those in power (whether in government, companies or the media) need to realise that the public judge brands on the basis of trust. In turn, the public should learn to use its power and boycott those who abuse our trust.