How The Food Industry Wants To Regain Consumer Confidence After Pet And Human Food Recalls

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We have lost confidence in the safety of our food and our pet’s food.

According to a study done by the Food Marketing Institute in May, only 66% of shoppers felt confident that the food that they buy from the grocery store is safe. This was a significant drop from last year when 82% felt confident in food safety.

This rings alarm bells for the Food Marketing Institute because they normally don’t see such significant drops in confidence that quickly. (Well, when thousands of pets are dying and sick from their pet food, consumer confidence will plummet.)

IBM also conducted a food safety survey and they found similar results in consumer confidence. They also found out that 70% of consumers have low levels of trust in the claims that brands make about their health, wellness or environmental impact.

A consumer products analyst with IBM said that the decrease in consumer confidence in food safety isn’t due to the number of recalls but the high-profile, long-lasting nature of the recalls.

The food industry is taking steps to regain consumer confidence. The FDA is testing a program that would include photos of the most dangerous recalled goods to clarify which products are affected.

Numerous private companies are also joining in and releasing products that they say will increase consumer confidence in food safety.

From The Washington Times:

With a Dutch company, Corporate Express, YottaMark developed HarvestMark products, which include a code that growers place on a package of produce. Shoppers then enter the code at harvestmark.com and see where the produce was grown, when it was picked, who picked it and every place it went on the path to the grocery store.

HarvestMark was designed to be used in the event of a product recall, when shoppers could enter the code online to check whether that container has been recalled. But the company has found that consumers are more confident in the safety of their produce, year round, when they can see where it has been, Mr. Grant said.

HarvestMark products are only available in cities where participating growers send their goods. For now, it’s available in the Western United States.

Other tracking products include IBM’s “Veggie Vision,” a scanner that can locate where a product was grown, who picked it and on what date.

“The ability to track an individual [grocery] item, that is really rare and at the end of the day, the trust really goes up,” Mr. Blissett said.

The Veggie Vision technology requires product growers to provide tracking information. It’s becoming popular in Britain and Japan.

Dennis Francis, vice president of label development at Corporate Express, said he expects tracking information to one day be government-mandated.

He expects it to happen in a similar way to how nutritional labeling on foods began by producers but is now required by the government.

“We’re moving toward that right now,” he said. “This is in response to what the consumers really want and mandates are always behind consumer demand.”

76 Responses to “How The Food Industry Wants To Regain Consumer Confidence After Pet And Human Food Recalls”

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  1. Barb says:

    For anyone reading right now, turn on CNN - Situation Room. They are about to do a report on the growing concern over China imports, interview w/ Ralph Nader discussing COOL, FDA’s lack of inspections, Nike shoes, etc….I think it’s a repeat from about two hours ago…Nader was great!

  2. Pukanuba says:

    Barb: My dog likes Canidae but no more commercial food for my dog…..PERIOD! The first bag had white bits all through the bag & embedded in the kibble…..now I read that somebody had a bag of another brand tested because of the white bits……excess Vit E which I guess can be harmful. Canidae told me it was separation during shipping. I did bring it back & when I bought the next bag months later, it was fine. As someone else said, strike one……

    More & more info is pointing to a problem with the vitamins…..whether it’s too much of something or contamination in them, I think the problem is with the vitamins. Maybe that’s what they are keeping from us. The black/beige stuff that Donna found in the Innova that tested for traces of ac/ca……company claimed it was the vitamin premix that wasn’t ground up completely. I think this is all BS…..I think they are getting this vitamin premix from China & there is definitely something wrong with it. You can all call me paranoid (which I am…..for sure) but something is wrong with the commercial pf, ALL of it. Until somebody honest (ha ha…..like there are any in big business or within a gov’t agency) goes public with what the problem really is that has been killing & sickening our pets, I will not buy anything. Costs me to home cook & takes up a fair amount of time but it’s either that or a dead dog……I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid that.

    At this point, the only place I think is being honest with us is Expertox. All the rest of them are lying through their teeth trying to cover up where their greed led them & what it did to our innocent fur kids.

    Enjoy your money, all you pf suits out there, I can only pray that you won’t see the bonuses you’ve seen in the past…..we see through you suckers now & you’ve lost our confidence, our business AND OUR MONEY.

  3. Boot says:

    Thanks, Barb.

    Public Citizen reports “…dozens of dietary supplements have been purposely and illegally laced with prescription drugs in an attempt to make them effective.”

    http://www.citizen.org/hot_iss.....fm?ID=1646

  4. Pukanuba says:

    BarbGSD: Tell me more about Timberwolf. I’ll have to check out their website & see if I can find it around here (So CA)…..some of the premium ones I read about, they don’t carry them around here. Right now I’m so afraid to give my dog any commercial pf…..don’t know what to do.

  5. Trudy Jackson says:

    Thomas, thanks for saying the mennonites were selling GMO products. I was just going to get in touch with them this weekend and try to buy some food.
    And that Caroline Smith DeWaal sounds like i’d like to send Her an email. i’ll try to find Her address.
    I can’t get CNN, so please tell a little about what Nadar had to say. i’ll write him too. he’s usually good at this stuff.

  6. menusux says:

    MF is up–and there’s speculation that shares are being purchased in the name of a takeover bid:

    http://communities.canada.com/.....-back.aspx

    Menu Foods tries to claw back

    “Units in Menu Foods Income Fund (MEWu/TSX) are up almost 10% Friday morning, as the company tries to claw back from the largest pet food recall in history.

    “MenuFoods’ unit price dropped by half in March when it announced the recall of 60-million containers of dog and cat food following several pet deaths across North America. In mid-June units took another hit, after Proctor and Gamble, one of Menu’s biggest clients, announced it was canceling its contract manufacturing agreement with Menu Foods to make “cut and gravy” pet food products.

    “This week, however, investors in Menu units appear rejuvenated, having traded up the fund roughly 23% since Tuesday.

    “Perhaps takeover fever is at the root of the turnaround.

    “Cormark Securities Aleem Israel said last week that Menu’s long-term unit price outlook is promising, despite his current 12-month price target of $1.60, with high takeover speculation and other deals in the consumer staples sector suggesting a takeout in the $3.45 to $5.20 per unit range.”

    This also confirms that P & G was the major client who dropped the cuts & gravy, leaving the 11% non-cuts & gravy wet food with MF. If someone’s going to try to take over this company, they are buying a LOT of bad baggage with it. Can’t see why anyone would be buying the shares for anything other than a takeover try.

    Things would need to be radically different for me to even think, never mind buy, anything produced by this company; that would mean it going into different ownership and management for a start.

  7. Pukanuba says:

    Who would want that POS company? We would rather wait & watch them go under. Anyone who buys them is going to have a bad rep right off the bat….I can’t imagine anyone wanting to get involved in this fiasco.

  8. Food And Drink Notes Show The True Facts » The attending physician, Dr says:

    […] How The <b>Food</b> Industry Wants To Regain Consumer Confidence After <b>…&… […]

  9. Kathy says:

    http://www.kashrut.com/Alerts/.....—How many of us even knew that some Hershey products had been recalled???? Time for another big round of applause for Itchmo for keeping us informed, and alas, time to remember that we are not done with this. No one has proven to my satisfaction that melamine or cyanuric acid was anything more than smoke screens, we may never know the name of the fifth toxin, and many of us have gone back to sleep. Mainstream public still looking at us like were a bunch of nuts, well, does anyone beside me remember that horrible high school biology experiment where a frog is placed in a pot of boiling water, and immediately jumps right out. Then a frog is placed in a pot of cold water, which is slowly heated to a boil, as is the frog as well. People, we, the citizens of this USA, are frogs in a ot of water rapidly approaching the boiling point and we are still sleeping!

  10. Sandy says:

    I would have more confidence if they labeled all food and each ingredient as to where it is from and recalls were mandatory with huge fines and jail time for any company CEOs in violation. No deals no plea bargins 20 years and HUGE fines…Also testing at random to nail any company who might try to sneak something by us

  11. Debi says:

    Hey, does anyone know ANYTHING about blue seal’s brandon farm’s organic[not all organic] dry dog food, it is sold in the Kroger stores, which I never purchase any kind of petfood from, but this dog food looked like it was pretty reputable. The co. also makes a canned formula, which is certified organic, canned by Evangers. I hope someone can come up with some info. on it, our little pit bull can’t eat a homeade diet [she has come up with some bad colitis] and does better on half and half. Debi

  12. Lorna says:

    I think this food may have been mentioned before?
    Orijen

    Has anyone tried it?
    No grains,no GMO,human grade ingredients,etc.
    Oh , and no outsourcing.Canadian company which knows all its suppliers apparently.
    Also available in U.S.
    I feed raw but know a number of people who can’t home cook and so am interested for them.If I fed kibble I would be interested for my dogs according to what they *say* their product is.(just feel a tad cynical these days)

    http://www.championpetfoods.com/orijen/products/

    Lorna

  13. Bill says:

    Talking about consumer confidence in the products they buy, Reuters news agency has just released this report saying counterfeir toothpaste from China may be more hareful that first suspected.

    Canada, Massachusetts warn consumers on toothpaste

    Saturday, July 07, 2007

    BOSTON (Reuters) - Health authorities in Canada and Massachusetts are warning consumers of the risk from China-made counterfeit toothpaste after more tainted products were found, deepening concern about the safety of Chinese goods.

    Preliminary tests conducted in Canada on counterfeit Colgate toothpaste indicate the fake products may contain even more harmful bacteria than authorities first suspected, Health Canada officials said on Friday.

    Canadian authorities urged consumers on June 29 to avoid Chinese toothpaste in the Canadian market because 21 products were found laced with harmful levels of diethylene glycol, an industrial solvent used in some antifreeze products.

    New York-based Colgate-Palmolive Co. has said the products are fakes and that it does not use, nor has ever used, diethylene glycol as an ingredient in its toothpaste anywhere in the world. The chemical, also known as DEG and sometimes illegally used as an inexpensive sweetener and thickening agent.

    “Consumers who have this counterfeit product are advised to discontinue use immediately and not to use their toothbrush,” a Health Canada statement said of the toothpaste.

    Phony products, labeled “Manufactured in South Africa,” include misspellings on their packaging such as “isclinically” “SOUTH AFRLCA” and “South African Dental Assoxiation.”

    In Canada, they were found in discount chain “Everything for a Dollar Store.” Health Canada said distributors are cooperating and have removed the product from their shelves.

    In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health said toothpaste suspected to contain a toxic chemical was found in stores in nearly a dozen communities despite a June import alert issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    Local authorities urged consumers to avoid toothpaste labeled “Made in China,” toothpaste labeled “Colgate” that is manufactured in South Africa and toothpaste without English language labeling.

    “Despite FDA’s efforts, suspect products continue to be found, including in Massachusetts — mostly in small, independent dollar-type discount stores,” the statement said.

    Colgate-Palmolive has said it was working closely with the FDA to identify those responsible.

    The warnings come amid growing concern in the United States and Latin America over the safety of Chinese products after a series of recalls and bans on items ranging from children’s toys to toothpaste.

    In Panama, 83 people have died after taking medicines contaminated with a Chinese-made toxin last year and the death toll is expected to rise, a senior prosecutor investigating how the medicines became adulterated said on Thursday.

    © Reuters 2007

  14. menusux says:

    Italian health authorities testing possibly tainted toothpaste

    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap.....hpaste.php

    “Italian authorities have seized a few batches of possibly tainted toothpaste in Florence and other cities in the country’s north, the Health Ministry said Saturday.

    The ministry said checks were being carried out across the country on Colgate toothpaste that was without Italian language labeling.

    The seizures of the suspicious toothpaste occurred in Genoa and Aosta as well as in the Tuscan capital, the ministry said in a statement. Samples were being analyzed to see if the toothpaste contained dangerous substances.

    No further details were immediately available.

    Concern over tainted toothpaste spread over the past weeks in some U.S. states and Canada.

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration said last month that toothpaste from China and counterfeit Colgate toothpaste may contain diethylene glycol, a chemical used in antifreeze.

    This week there have been reports in the Spanish media that tainted toothpaste has been detected in the country.”

    http://blogs.courant.com/capit.....othpa.html

    Tainted Toothpaste Found in Connecticut

    http://www.eagletribune.com/pu.....23150.html

    Counterfeit toothpaste purchased at N.H. flea market

    http://www.myfoxprovidence.com.....geId=3.2.1

    Suspect toothpaste found at R.I. discount store

    “Health inspectors removed a toothpaste marketed under the name Dentakleen from a Building 19 store in Pawtucket.”

    http://money.cnn.com/2007/07/06/news/toothpaste/

    “The warning came on the same day that officials in Panama said they had recorded 540 cases of poisoning linked to toothpaste and other health products in that country.

    He said four categories of products were found to be contaminated - cough syrup, toothpaste, calamine lotion and a drug called deifreidamina. He said the products were only available in Panama and there were no exports.”

    Now it’s spreading to Canada, more US states, Italy & Spain.

  15. Black Lab Owner says:

    The only way that can begin to gain my confidence is when I hear the ANNOUNCEMENTS OF PROSECUTIONS BY STATE AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES for being party to mass poisoning of the food supply.

    And by the way, has anyone been to Trader Joe’s lately? I went yesterday, and it seemed to me that there were LESS foods labeled with country of origin than at the height of the recall, not more. This was particularly true in the frozen vegetable section. Has anyone else noticed this?

  16. straybaby says:

    wouldn’t surprise me at all if food companies started removing any origin info they had on the labels (while throwing more money at the Gov to squash COOL!).

    I’d like to catch them in the act. Sure would kill the “It would cost too much to implement COOL and the consumers would have to pay $$$” false argument . . . .

    *censors self*

  17. Sharon says:

    Something has changed with Evo. My indoor cats and outdoor cats both loved it until the last bag I used. They didn’t barf but did not devour it as before. The bag was full of crumbs. None of the prior bags were crumbly. I’m having a hard time finding another dry kibble my cat will eat and she relies on dry food for a substantial portion of her calories. She is so small I continue to give her dry to try to keep some weight on her. What is a good dry food that I don’t have to mail order? I need something I can buy local.

  18. Jay says:

    The pet food murders have created some awareness of not only the companies that manufacture or contract pet food but also a growing awareness of the “out of control” nature of our food distribution and trade policies.

    With this in mind, it was enlightening to find the UK beginning to question these problems as well.

    Here is a link regarding local vs. food of unknown origin.

    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/fo.....;html#more

    Excerpt:

    It is time we faced up to the fact that developing our super-efficient food distribution system has resulted in the complete destruction of our local food infrastructure. Worse than that, the supertanker of centralised commodity distributed food supply is still going in the wrong direction, using the language – category management, food chains and supply chain rationalisation – of an industry which treats food no differently than paint, cars or computers.

    Next time you eat some food ask yourself whether you have any chance of finding out from the label who grew it, where they lived, what their farm looked like or how much they got paid: the answer will probably be no. Make no mistake, this is the time for sober reflection on the true cost of that loss. I have reflected, and I’ve reached the conclusion that something must be done.

    And here are three books mentioned that are pertinent to our concerns as well (may be published or available in the US):

    NOT ON THE LABEL by Felicity Lawrence

    COLLAPSE by Jared Diamond

    BAD FOOD BRITAIN by Joanna Blythman

  19. Jay says:

    I have a feeling the so-called Public Citizen:

    Statement by Sidney Wolfe, MD, Director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen

    is more a shill for big pharma — too many keywords found among their propaganda as though they really care for your health.

    The PFI does a similar piece of work for Menu Foods and others guiltyof what this forum is about.

    An opinion on my part but I research corporate movement and press releases nowadays and find it selfish and irresponsible.

  20. Trudy Jackson says:

    Does anyone know anything about Purina Dog Chow Healthy Morsels? Please let Me know. thanks.

  21. Janice says:

    Sharon,

    I am getting ready to open a new bag of Evo, and am getting worried. What are the code numbers from your bag? I lost a cat in Jan. after we opened a new bag of Hill’s Prescription c/d. I guess I need to start feeding people food, but even food intended for human consumption does not seem safe these day.

  22. Patricia says:

    Sharon & Janice re EVO. My last bag of EVO was “powdery” at the bottom - even tried running it through a strainer, but it just powdered more. Returned to pet food store whose owner thought it might be a moisture problem. Could be since this a no grain food. Replacemnent bag seems ok and cats have not rejected it; they didn’t like the powdery part in the previous bag which would be a texture preception thing. No adverse reactions in the last two weeks on the replacement bag.

    These are two “can & bag” cats that have rejected raw and home cooked so far.

  23. Patricia says:

    The savy food merchants ARE paying attention to their customers. The July issue of COSTCO connection has a four page spread on Earthbound Farm, their organic produce supplier. Even Safeway is popping more and more house label ” Organics” products in almost every department.

    Today, in Safeway, I asked the produce person where the unlabeled $.69 green onions came from. Her response was: “Just a minute and I’ll check.” A few minutes later she had found the box labeled Mexico. I quipped it would have saved both of us a lot of time if they had shown origin to begin with, as I grabbed a bunch of organic at almost twice the price. She agreed and added they are now required to stock 60 - 70 organic produce products at all times. She added she gets a lot more questions from customers than she did a few months ago.

    Our demands are and will further change the food industry. Thanks to our pet’s, we are no longer complacent consumers.

  24. Elaine says:

    Good choice, Patricia,

    Green onions grown in Mexico killed 3 and sickened over 180 people in the eastern U. S. a few years ago. It was a strain of hepatitis, can’t remember which one.

    But I would think the 180 people may have ongoing health problems because of liver damage.

    I constantly find Mexican grown onions in the grocery stores here in Oregon, and what really frosts my cookies is that it is the time of year that they SHOULD be Oregon grown for sure!

    I always ask if it is not labeled, and now my local grocery store has started added a sign with country of origin by the unlabeled veggies.

    COOL was passed in the 2002 Farm Bill, but the congressmen getting the big donations from agribusiness have delayed implementation by denying funding quite a few times.

  25. Ron says:

    After the whole recall happened I researched every pet food company I could find. I was grading companies on size, manufacturing plants, past reputation, ingredients, etc. The company that came out on top was: FirstMate Pet Foods located in Vancouver, B.C. They use only North American ingredients and make all of their own foods. They don’t have canned food, because they don’t have a cannery. Their Ultra Premium line has no wheat, corn, soy, or by-products.
    I switched my Lab to the Potato and Fish in March and he has never done better. They just came out with a new Grain - free cat food (fish, potato, with blueberries) and my cats seem to really like it. I have had a good experience with FirstMate (www.firstmate.com) over the last 3 months. What are other people’s impressions of FirstMate?

  26. Ron says:

    Sharon - Are you in WA or OR? I know FirstMate is sold in many stores in those states. Here is a link to the new cat food I was talking about:

    http://firstmate.com/cat/fishPotatoCat.htm

    Hope this helps!

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