> Hunter PR Releases Top 5 Food Stories of 2016 - The Food Safety Company Hunter PR Releases Top 5 Food Stories of 2016 - The Food Safety Company
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    Friday, 16 December 2016

    Hunter PR Releases Top 5 Food Stories of 2016

    American PR firm Hunter Public Relations has this week released its list of the top five food-related news stories of 2016. Although the results are just a snapshot of an incredibly broad twelve months, they are nonetheless a fascinating insight into a fascinating industry. Whilst media scrutiny of American restaurants’ no-tip policies and the overall decline of honey bees made places 5 and 2 respectively, most of the list related quite specifically to food safety. So, what’s everyone been talking about this year in those terms?

    Number 4: GMO Labelling Bill

    A highly-publicised occurrence this year was the passing into law in the United States of Bill S.764, after its signing by President Obama in July. In essence, it required that food products sold in the United States which contain or have been made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) need to be labelled as such. Many hailed the move as an important point in terms of transparency in the food manufacturing industry.

    Critics, however (including former Democratic leadership candidate Bernie Sanders) criticised the bill as a move by Monsanto Corp, along with other elements of big business, to replace more stringent pre-existing rules with softer ones, and to talk-up the introduction of the rules as being a positive thing, set to ‘provide new opportunities for consumers to have access to information about their food’ (as White House spokesperson Katie Hill told ABC News at the time).

    Number 3: Listeria Outbreaks

    Listeria is one of the most commonly-encountered foodborne pathogens. This year, Hunter PR has highlighted the multiple product recalls to occur throughout 2016, necessitated by the detection of listeria in mass-produced food products. In April, for example, ‘a large-scale voluntary recall of more than 350 frozen fruits and vegetables marketed under 42 brand names’ was carried out by a Washington-based processing plant. Indeed, we’ve reported on numerous listeria-related stories this year; and for good reason. It can appear everywhere, from ice cream to chicken. When people get food poisoning, it’s very often listeria.

    Number 1: Chipotle’s Recovery after E.Coli Outbreak

    Chipotle, US vendor of spicy wraps and takeaway meals, found itself in hot water following a disastrous E.Coli outbreak, which was still eroding its profitability in mid-2016. However, despite this, and a few other mild slip-ups (namely, misleading calorific information found in Chipotle restaurants), the company has managed to recover exceedingly well. As Hunter PR notes, ‘Chipotle spent this year implementing a number of changes to win back its loyal and lapsed customers, which were widely documented by media. Changes included hiring a food safety expert to implement new procedures and protocols, consumer couponing and loyalty programs, extensive employee training and taking out advertising to broadly communicate all of the above.’

    There have been a myriad of other stories relating to food safety this year; but these have indeed been some of the best. Amongst our favourites have also been the success of Danish food shop Wefood (the country’s first store to exclusively sell out-of-date food), the recent upsurge in Hong Kong’s farming skyscrapers and the sudden, not-so-mysterious disappearances of fish from Beijing supermarkets. Still, with a couple of weeks left in 2016, there’s still the potential for a few Christmas crackers. 

    James Stannard

    James has a Bachelor’s degree in History and wrote his dissertation on beef and protest. His heroes list ranges from Adele to Noam Chomsky: inspirations he’ll be invoking next year when he begins a Master’s degree in London.
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