Fresh Produce Tampering
How to prevent, prepare, recover
As published in the June 2019 edition of Produce Plus, Jessica Purbrick says we’ve learnt a lot since September 2018.
Whilst food tampering isn’t new, what is new is the sudden and unprecedented number of copycat occurrences that found a platform and voice across social and traditional media.
What we saw in Australia and New Zealand after the reporting of the ‘needles-in-strawberries’ incidents was the rapid update of copycat behaviour by individuals seeking to gain recognition and social media trending hits.
These 2018 incidents proved how unprepared many organisations are in dealing with the issue. We have all learnt from these events. These learnings provide a strong platform to reflect on what worked well and what didn’t, and to allow future issues to be managed quickly and from a place of knowledge, not reaction.
The challenge now for the fresh produce industry is to prepare, create and deliver a robust incident response plan that averts a crisis which harms consumer confidence (locally and in our global markets) in our fresh produce food safety practices.