Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Celery strikes again!

Why does it seem like so many processors of celery are mad at us and want to kill us?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially linked four deaths to contaminated celery processed in the SanGar Produce and Processing Co. plant in San Antonio, TX.

The state had closed the plant Oct. 20 and ordered a recall of all produce shipped from there since January. A few days later, the President of Sangar said independent testing found company produce was -- in his words -- "absolutely safe." And he vowed to "aggressively" fight the state's erroneous findings.

Now the feds have piled on and confirmed what Texas had already found.

Today, the company attorney declined to comment, claiming the Food and Drug Administration had not shared their findings with the company.

If you are in the food processing, selling or serving business, you can anticipate that at some time, you're very likely to ship or serve some tainted food products. And since it's a likely occurrence, you should have a crisis communication plan ready to activate, with a trained spokesperson ready to respond.

That plan should anticipate the likely foods that could be tainted; what you're going to do about it; who is going to speak for the company; what are they going to say; and how are they going to reassure employees, suppliers, customers and bankers or investors that you're going to fix the problem and work even harder to prevent another occurrence.

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