Food panics

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Seminar Business life | Friday December 3, 2004

Apart from the obvious food risks (such as bacterial contamination) which are well known, and easy to handle, food manufacturers are now faced with potential risks which are the focus of media attention, (for example, GM organisms and dioxins) and which make life difficult for them. The leading manufacturers which launched a huge marketing campaign to create an image, a reputation, and even an involvement with the consumer, are particularly sensitive and vulnerable to such media attention. As former Director of Food Security at Danone (and subsequently consultant), Jean-François Molle put practices into place which addressed these risks. He argues that managing these potential risks presupposes a better understanding of the dynamics of these crises created by the media and a wish to abolish the secrecy surrounding the practice of food manufacture. He recommends opening up discussions at the appropriate time with the relevant people. This method could be applied to other mass consumer products and brands (such as perfumes, cosmetics, hygienic and household products).

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This session was published in issue n°54 of the Journal de l'École de Paris du management, entitled Politique.

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