Salmonella: A Supply Risk Rears Its Infectious Head

When I get busy at work, I often don't have time for a proper lunch. Rather, I slop some peanut butter on bread (or simply take a spoonful) and call it a meal. But depending on who you talk to these days, this type of behavior has been more risky than downing a fifth of scotch or jay walking across a highway. Over on Supply Chain Matters, Bob Ferrari has been covering the news of tainted peanut butter -- and peanut butter products -- like a seasoned reporter. Bob was one of the first to express concern over the potential for greater contamination throughout countless products. Last week, he noted "over 125 products have had to be recalled, and my unofficial count would indicate that at least 27 brands, both public and private, have also been impacted. The products that have been recalled include peanut butter, crackers, cookies, candy, fruit and vegetable, snack food, and other products. It also now includes certain pet-food products.”

The current recalls will do little to placate those who have been sickened or the families of those who have died as a result of consuming a tainted product. But at least both our Federal government and private companies have acted quickly in the crisis (unlike in China during the melamine scandals). Still, many companies are in reactive mode in dealing with the crisis and the true cost is unknown as the "dollar-impact to brands and brand equity are yet to be quantified." For Bob, this serves as "yet another reminder that a supply chain risk event that may initially seem small in scope can echo itself through many impacted supply chains." Indeed, when it comes to supply chain risk, it's the smaller incidents that can ultimately prove to be the most damaging.

- Jason Busch

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