Tag: crisis

Food Companies Should Revisit Insurance Program and Other Risk Management in Light of Emerging Massive European Union E. coli Outbreak

The E. coli outbreak unraveling now in the European Union, centered primarily in Germany, is setting new records for both the number of affected persons and the number of persons diagnosed with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), a serious complication from E. coli infection (HUS can lead to kidney failure, brain damage and death). As of … Continue Reading

Listeria Recall Toolkit

The FDA recently took the relatively unusual step of obtaining a court-issued warrant to seize all cheese products at Estrella Family Creamery, a small, family-owned artisan cheese maker in Washington State. According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, "the FDA asked Estrella to recall all cheese products. The company … Continue Reading

Take-Aways from November 17 Webinar: Sustainable Foods Increase Litigation Risks: Developing Strategies to Minimize Exposure

On November 17, we held our final webinar in a three-part series on bringing sustainable food products to market. Take-aways from the third webinar include: • Be aware that "natural" is a hot button when advertising and labeling sustainable food products. • "Sustainable" is not addressed in FTC Green Guides so it is imperative to … Continue Reading

Take-Aways from November 3 Webinar: Making Good Marketing Claims: Product Labeling Pitfalls, Third-Party Certification and “Green Washing”

Tuesday, November 3, we held our second webinar in a three-part series on bringing sustainable food products to market. Thanks again to our presenters and attendees. The recorded webcast was archived and is accessible at this link. Click here to access a PDF copy of the presentation slides. Take-aways from the second webinar include: • … Continue Reading

Comment On Recent New York Times E. Coli and Beef Article: How Retailers Can Protect Themselves

Co-Authored By Guest Blogger Scott Hansen According to its website, last Sunday’s New York Times article on E. coli and beef is among the most widely read pieces published by the newspaper this week. The article tells the story of a 22-year-old Minnesota dance instructor who was left paralyzed after being infected with a strain of E. … Continue Reading

Hungry for Change: ABA Journal on Food Safety Reform and Its History

Kristin Choo has written a piece for the ABA Journal tracking the history of food safety regulation, recent outbreaks and current legislation pending in Congress. I am grateful to be mentioned in the piece. The article can be found at this link.  Ms. Choo writes: Litigation is likely to increase as a pumped-up FDA, an arm of … Continue Reading

Before the Outbreak, Preapprove Defense Counsel with Insurer

When a food-borne illness outbreak happens, few food companies (especially those whose brand is at stake) want an unfamiliar defense lawyer who has little knowledge about food-borne illness responding to claims asserted against them. Unless a food company maintains a high, self-insured retention or has the lawyer of its choosing preselected, its insurer might appoint … Continue Reading

Tool For Food Companies and Litigators – New Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response

Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (“CIFOR”) has published new guidelines designed to help local, state and federal agencies to improve their response to outbreaks. I became aware of this (again) through Ricardo Carvajal, who was a reviewer for the guidelines, and his firm’s FDA Law Blog. I agree with Ricardo that while the guidelines … Continue Reading

What to Do When the Investigators Knock . . .

This week brought news of yet another nationwide Salmonella outbreak from a source not yet identified by government regulators. The last time we had a nationwide Salmonella outbreak for an extended period of time without identification of a definitive source the federal government initially singled out tomatoes imported from Mexico (a huge array of products). … Continue Reading

Five New Year’s Resolutions

Unfortunately, 2009 does not promise to be any easier than 2008 in protecting your business against food liability claims. Many argue that threats will only increase in the new year. Here are five things you can do to reduce exposure in the coming year: 1. Review Insurance Coverage and Limits Carefully – Both the variety and … Continue Reading

Crisis Management So Simple Even A Pre-Schooler Could Do It. . .

Last week’s ACI conference included a great session on crisis management. David Hermann from the GMA gave a presentation on “Effective Crisis Leadership: 5 Basic Rules You Learned as a Kid.” His presentation reflected a proactive approach and showed ways to build an effective crisis-management plan. Mr. Hermann’s points were as follows: 1. Clean up … Continue Reading

More on Melamine . . .

I was interviewed recently by Food Innovation Weekly on “Melamine, Recalls and Crisis Management.” This question-and-answer article discusses how the waves of melamine issues circling the globe affect the way a company should think about crisis management. I suspect that we’re not done hearing about melamine contamination and that the scope of fraud has yet … Continue Reading

Preparation for Melamine Issues- Updating Crisis Management Plans and Insurance Coverage

While largely under the radar in the American press due to the compelling election cycle and historical meltdown in the financial markets, the news out of China concerning melamine has gone from bad to worse. Concern about Chinese dairies has morphed into a global crisis affecting what seems like an infinite number of products tainted … Continue Reading

More on Supply Chain Verification and Crisis Management

Food Safety Magazine’s latest issue focuses on “Industry in Crisis Mode.” The issue includes an article by Shaun Kennedy, director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD). Mr. Kennedy provides a good overview of the elements of a supply chain verification program that any food seller should consider. Mr. Kennedy acknowledges that … Continue Reading

Forest Through the Trees: Lessons from a Crisis Management Case Study

There was a nice article in the Canadian legal publication Law Times about the aftermath of the Maple Leaf Foods recall. The article praises Maple Leaf Foods for taking quick steps to salvage consumer confidence in the face of a Listeria outbreak across Canada. Specifically, the article discusses how Maple Leaf Foods CEO Michael McCain “immediately … Continue Reading

Lessons from Toxic Rice and Chinese Dairies – Threats From Bioterrorism and Supplier Fraud

Manufacturer fraud and bioterrorism should be on the radar screen for any food producer. Apart from the meltdown in the U.S. financial markets and presidential politics, the big news this week is toxic rice from Southeast Asia and melamine-tainted dairy products from China. Both crises were caused by intentional contamination of food products by raw-materials … Continue Reading

Anatomy of a Food-Borne Illness Claim – Part I

Recently, I’ve received several requests for resources explaining the anatomy of a food-borne illness claim. In other words, what events can be expected, and when? What can or should a company (in particular the legal department) do in response to a claim? Part I – Notice of an Outbreak (and Possible Claims)   First off, don’t … Continue Reading

Dos and Don’ts for Executives Managing a Crisis

As discussed frequently in this blog, management of an outbreak at its inception determines the course of the crisis (and, in some cases, the fate of the company). The Globe and Mail, in its ongoing coverage of the Maple Leaf Foods Listeria outbreak, today published a helpful punch list of 15 dos and don’ts for … Continue Reading

Good Time To Review Crisis Management Plans

Incredibly, the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak remains unsolved. First reported onset of illness date was April 10, yet the traceback is still not complete. Personal injury and economic damage claims await for the FDA and CDC to determine causation. Produce industry, particularly in Mexico, stands to suffer long lasting injury.  Whether or not your business stands … Continue Reading
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