Consumers have been faced with more than a handful of health scares in recent years that have spurred them to avoid certain types of meats, vegetables, and peanut butters. They’ve also had to make savvy purchases of toys and pet food and follow news of tainted or potentially unsafe products. While consumers do their part to stay informed and steer their purchases in the right direction, companies and their industries often bear the brunt of the pandemonium, whether warranted or not.
In April 2009, consumers were quick to act amidst news of a swine flu outbreak. The initial naming of the H1N1 influenza virus as swine flu proved to be a PR nightmare for pig farmers. Consumers turned up their noses at the other white meat, even though eating pork won’t transmit the disease. The limping
On the other side, some companies become sought after and benefit from health and product scares. Prestige Ameritech made more than 1 million surgical masks in one day at its
Each instance of a scare, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, E. coli, mad cow, bird flu, and melamine-tainted products, has its own unique circumstances, but in general companies benefit or become downtrodden as a result.
Our editors dove into the
“Twice during the month of October 2007, the company was forced to recall meat products because of E. coli contamination. The first involved more than 800,000 pounds of frozen beef patties. More than 1 million pounds of fresh ground beef was involved in the second recall.”
“Eurofresh’s financial woes stem from losses it sustained from 2006 to 2008 due to tainted tomato products. During that time, it lost almost $8 million in revenue due to tomato crops it had to destroy because they were infected with the bacteria, Calibacter michiganensis (which causes tomato plants to wither and rot).”
3. Mattel, Inc.
“A spate of recalls in late 2007, spurred by Chinese-made products considered harmful, were expensive both for Mattel’s pocketbook (it estimates its losses at nearly $50 million in product returns and related expenses) and its image. The company had to recall 1 million Chinese-made Fisher-Price toys in August 2007, after learning that they may contain hazardous levels of lead paint. The recalled items include some of Mattel’s most popular characters, such as Dora the Explorer, Elmo, and Big Bird.”
“In February 2007 salmonella was found in some of the company’s Peter Pan and Great Value (a Wal-Mart product) brands of peanut butter, forcing a nation-wide recall of the peanut butter bearing the product code involved. Salmonella food poisoning was linked to some 600 people in 47 states.”
“Following the discovery of bird flu on a
“Along with many other pet food companies, Iams was affected by the Menu Foods recall in early 2007, when it had to recall certain wet pouch and canned pet foods manufactured by Menu Foods. Menu Foods recalled a number of its foods made with wheat gluten that was contaminated with melamine, which has been linked to pet deaths across the country.”
“ANA had to trim more routes in response to a worldwide slump in air travel in 2003 due to the SARS outbreak.”
“Sanofi Pasteur is the #1 maker of flu vaccines and has received a boost from growing concerns over the possibility of an influenza pandemic. The company beat out its competitors when its bird-flu vaccine was the first to receive FDA approval in 2007.”
“EraGen has also developed another diagnostic panel for MultiCode to diagnose respiratory diseases, including SARS and Avian Flu, more rapidly than previous diagnostic methods.”
“The BioScience unit makes vaccines for infectious diseases, such as meningitis C and smallpox. It has vaccine products in development for SARS, Lyme disease, and influenza. In 2007 the company inked a deal with the British government to supply the flu vaccine in case of pandemic.”