Lack of eggs, lack of trust

In 2013, the horsemeat scandal shocked consumers and rocked the food industry. Well, this time around there’s yet another scandal in the food industry – there’s a poison eggs scandal that started in The Netherlands, … and it is affecting other European countries such as Germany and Belgium (sources suggest that it might possibly be spreading to the UK and France as well). After repeated scandals in the food industry, can you really blame consumers for having a lack of trust in governments and big companies?

In a nutshell (or should we say eggshell), the eggs are contaminated with the insecticide fipronil, which is an anti-lice pesticide for chicken. According the NVWA fipronil has an acute danger on public health. So being save than sorry, it is not surprising that supermarkets have pulled egg products off their shelves, and now there is a lack of eggs for sale.

Like any scandal, the main question is “Who’s to blame?”. Within this context, sometimes it is difficult to narrow down to one specific culprit because there are many players at different layers of the food industry. Nonetheless, investigations have revealed that the exporters of the contaminated eggs have all been affiliated with Chickfriend, a Dutch company that treats poultry for lice. More recently, it has also came into light that Belgian authorities admitted that they knew about the contamination of eggs a month before it became public in the Netherlands. This raises a lot of questions, such as whether Chickfriend was aware they were  using  fipronil, and if they knew about the hazardous effects of fipronil, and now who else was involved? So the plot thickens…

As we mentioned earlier, one of the biggest societal trends right now is that consumers have a lack of trust. We can see how these scandals in the food industry alone would feed into such decline in public trust. But at TrendsActive we like to ask: Great trend, now what? If there is a lack of trust, how do we fix it? Research shows that to regain consumer trust, being pro-active and accountable for your actions is essential. One of the ways we believe in doing so is to provide radical transparency and owning up to your errors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Chickfriend has gotten this memo. In fact, they are doing the exact opposite – they have declined to comment on the eggs scandal, and they have even deactivated their website (it is now a dead link).

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