Crisis management time for many rice-related industries
How would you feel if I told you that you’re probably consuming several doses of a potent carcinogen and neurotoxin each week? Even worse, you’re feeding your kids the same dose in some of their favorite meals and snacks.
That’s exactly what a recent Consumer Reports study found when it investigated arsenic levels in many common rice and rice products. From packaged baby cereal and children’s snacks to organic bagged rice, almost every product tested contains “measurable amounts” of arsenic, many containing well over the 5 parts-per-billion considered safe for water by the New Jersey EPA (the most protective standard in the U.S.).
What’s the standard for food, you ask? Here’s the real scary part – there isn’t one.
These findings and, more importantly, the effect they have on the public’s attitude towards rice and rice products have the potential to seriously impact businesses up and down the supply chain from growers to retailers. With Consumer Reports suggesting that servings of food containing rice be cut down to a fraction of what most people consume, there is bound to be a financial hit, and trust in major brands could be significantly reduced if the court of public opinion lays blame on them for insufficient testing.
As with most crisis management scenarios, there is an opportunity to play a positive angle out of this tough spot. Smart companies would do well to acknowledge that there is an issue and that they’re worried about it just as much as anyone else. After they find a way to eliminate unsafe arsenic levels from their products, then come out advertising that fact, starting with influential online groups like mommy bloggers as well as Consumer reports and its peers that covered the study. Will this cost money? Yes. Will it pay off in the long run? Absolutely.
Make the right moves and you’ll be protecting consumers and drastically reducing the potential for lawsuits, while providing standing proof of just what an caring, responsible, and awesome organization you’ve got. Sounds like a win to us!
The BCM Blogging Team