Integrity Matters
August 9, 2006

Salad product recall was a proactive move

Question: (E-252)

Dear Jim:

Did you read about the voluntary recall of 30,000 packages of baby spinach and spring mix products that will cost a local company more than $500,000? Was that an integrity decision by the folks of Classic Salads?


Yes, the decision by leaders of a local agricultural business to "bite the bullet" and lose a half-million dollars was an expensive integrity decision. It is similar to actions taken by Johnson & Johnson, removing its product Tylenol from store shelves because it might be tainted. Integrity is not the easy road. A few weeks ago, PepsiCo refused to participate in an offer to purchase trade secrets belonging to its competitor, Coca-Cola.

Decent people and organizations are making integrity-centered decisions of this kind - to do the right thing, millions of times, every day, all over the world. Some minority of operators will continue cutting corners, cheating customers and lying to suppliers. But individuals with integrity and the longer view of leadership will prevail, from the boardroom to the loading dock.

When the decision-makers at Classic Salads learned that tests revealed some of their products might be contaminated by salmonella, they dumped their products. As Jim Bogart, president and general counsel of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, said: "Processes are in place to protect the buying public. These procedures are used 24 hours per day and seven days a week. Holding our industry to an ever-improving set of standards, perfection, zero-defects, is the only goal."

Bogart underscored that the system worked, in this instance, and that just one outbreak is one too many.

Lex Camany of Classic Salads said in a news article: "Money wasn't the matter here. Food safety was the paramount issue." He went on to say that the decision to act might have waited a few more days until the tests were confirmed, but he and his colleagues decided not to take any chances.

From the Bracher Center Web site: "Integrity is one of several paths; it distinguishes itself from the others because it is the right path and the only one upon which you will never get lost." - M.H. McKee.

Integrity is congruence between what you say and what you do, as well as what you say about what you did. Integrity is the strength, unity, clarity and purpose that upholds and sustains all of the activities of the enterprise. Integrity provides this stabilizing dimension by never, ever, compromising.

Agribusiness and integrity - in partnership - strengthen lives and communities!

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