Some things just make you shake your head and today’s USA Today brought along another one of them. It’s almost as if the aftermath of the BP spill never happened or, at best, as if some folks are either not paying attention or just not getting what they’re seeing and hearing. I know it’s not Friday but this is food-related, sort of. It’s really about business and responsibility in my mind but I’ll let you be the judge.
The article is about the salmonella problem that the egg industry has been having and which has forced a massive recall of eggs produced on 2 farms. Now, apparently 600 large egg farms are responsible for about 80% of the nation’s egg production and there are many more that produce the other 20%. We’re not talking about a huge number of sources for the problem although it is a huge problem, obviously.
In the midst of this problem, a spokesperson for the United Egg Producers deems it wise to blame egg consumers for getting sick. I’m not kidding:
“It may sound harsh, and I don’t mean it to sound that way. But all the responsibility cannot be placed on the farmer. Somewhere along the line, consumers have to be responsible for what they put in their bodies.”
That from Krista Eberle of the United Egg Producers’ Egg Safety Center. Since salmonella has been found inside eggs (not just on the shell) since the 1980’s and since there hasn’t been an outbreak of sickness like this since then, obviously, Krista, something has changed. Yes, eating raw eggs or undercooked eggs (lightly poached, maybe a Caesar dressing) can make you sick and consumers should know the risks (I think we do – it’s on damn near every restaurant menu) but PLEASE! Don’t blame the people who buy your product when something has gone wrong on your end and they do what they’ve always done with a far different, and worse, result.
As with BP, admit the problem, take responsibility, and fix it while mitigating the damage. What you’re doing is as if BP blamed the folks affected by the spill for living there in the way of all that oil. Yes, we ‘ll be smart, cook the eggs well, clean and disinfect our counters after dropping raw egg there but you need to find the source of the contamination and fix it. In the meantime, learn from business history and quit passing the blame buck.