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Nutritional Foods, Case Study Example

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Case Study

Ethical issue related to food is a highly poignant issue which should be handled with a lot of care and morality. The ethical standing of a food industry is a reflection of how the industry values its customers and clientele.   Most curriculums in food courses across Europe barely incorporate ethical issues in their studies. Ethics in relation to food, apart from handling food the right way, it includes fair and just treatment to its employees[1].

In relation to the case study,   there are many questions that seek to be answered when faced with such a situation in your company, first what do we do when products go wrong?  It is important to consider all aspect in regard to this question; we should look at the welfare of customers and the company, as well. Mr. Fred James, the Chief Executive of Nutritional Foods Inc., was faced with this difficult task as he listened to his Vice President for Production, John Healy. According to John, the official of the health department reported a probable association between acute poisoning of a child’s food, and an unpasteurized apple product produced by Nutritional Foods and disseminated all through the Western United States”. The best an ethical step is to dispatch officials to investigate the matter, which was done. This is significant because the corporation will have an insight of what caused the food poisoning. What contingent plan are they taking and what will they do to the affected people[2].

After carrying out proper analysis, the company should call off the sale of products from the retailers as they wait for the final report from the health department.  This will help avoid other infections and development of new cases[3]. In food production, the consumer is a very important link that enables the business succeeds and putting him/her first will help in ascertaining a good connection linking the company and the customers. Nutritional foods were known to be the best in handling natural and non-pasteurized food, and such an incident would damage its reputations, which is far more expensive to start a fresh than to call off distribution of the affected products. This would maintain the company’s image among its customers and therefore, maintaining his status-quo[4].

The other step the company should take after receiving report, and confirming the root cause of food poisoning is to take action against the responsible party. If for example, the packaging process was done in a clean environment, then the best step is to fire the head of packaging services. This will preserve the company’s confidence to customers, as this would feel that their grievances have been partially handled.  After having all reports, I would go the press and present my case.  This is good for the company because, the matter is already in all newspapers and will be a measure of preventing more malicious damage from the competitors[5].

I would table my report of what caused food poisoning, the measures I have taken to prevent future occurrences of the same and to the responsible person. From the announcement, I will expect to maintain the loyalty of some of the loyal customers, and this will be a stepping-stone of having the company back in business.  The other step is to have a department to deal with the affected people; the CEO will announce that all affected people to report the various offices where assistance will be accorded to them. This will reduce the number of fake accusations and only affected people will respond. A written apology through papers from the company, signed by the CEO to all their customers will be a good tool of passing a message to the public[6].

In conclusion, Mr. Fred James should consider all ethical issues related to the company and customers in making his decision. He should ensure both the Company and customer benefit from his action and none are overburdened.

References

Early, R. “Food Ethics: a decision making tool for the food industry?” International Journal of Food Science and Technology 37, (2002): 339-349.

Kirk, O.H. The Case of Nutritional Foods: Markkula center for applied ethics, 1998.

Longstreth, J. “Public health consequences of global climate change in the United

States–some regions may suffer disproportionately.” Environmental Health Perspectives107, Suppl 1 (1999), 169.

Mead, P. S., Slutsker, L., Dietz, V., McCaig, L. F., Bresee, J. S., Shapiro, C. & Tauxe, R. V. “Food-related illness and death in the United States.” Emerging infectious diseases5, no. 5 (1999), 607.

[1] Early, R. “Food Ethics: a decision making tool for the food industry?” International Journal of Food Science and Technology 37, (2002): 339-349.

[2] Kirk, O.H. The Case of Nutritional Foods: Markkula center for applied ethics, 1998

[3] Longstreth, J. “Public health consequences of global climate change in the United States–some regions may suffer disproportionately.” Environmental Health Perspectives, 107, Suppl 1 (1999), 169.

[4] Ibid 2.

[5] Ibid 4.

[6] Mead, P. S., Slutsker, L., Dietz, V., McCaig, L. F., Bresee, J. S., Shapiro, C. & Tauxe, R. V. “Food-related illness and death in the United States.” Emerging infectious diseases, 5, no. 5 (1999), 607

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