- Last year, a recall by Valley Milk Products resulted in a ripple effect that affected more than 30 companies, according to Food Online. The Food and Drug Administration found positive results for salmonella during an inspection of VMP's products in summer 2016.
- Both the contaminated powdered milk and buttermilk from VMP were used as ingredients in a number of other manufacturers' products, and those companies needed to issue their own recalls.
- Companies affected included Palmer Chocolate, Dawn Food Products and Franklin Farms.
The recall of Valley Milk Products impacted a wide range of product categories, including candy, chips, macaroni and cheese, seasonings, and cake mixes.
Some food industry players think that perhaps too much product was recalled unnecessarily, but food analysts are big believers in “better safe than sorry.” Through its comprehensive preventive measures, the Food Safety Modernization Act also espouses this belief. A lot of food was wasted as a result, but this eliminated the chaos that would have occurred had a consumer purchased and eaten a contaminated product.
In 2011, Jensen Farms cantaloupes were recalled for listeria contamination, which resulted in consumer reluctance to buy melons — as well as sales declines and unnecessary food waste. It's possible that VMP's product recall could trigger similar fallout.
Consumers are already sensitive to food safety issues, and major recalls could cause them to switch brands or avoid buying a type of food or produce altogether.
It's important for brands to have PR plans ready to go in case of a major recall. While it's likely that companies will experience a dip in sales following a recall, consumers are receptive to brands' efforts to be transparent about the situation. Social media is a great way to get information to consumers quickly and update them throughout the process.