‘Human errors in life happen’ – Fonterra


Absolutely.  They do.

The big difference is how we act after these errors are discovered.

Right now I think Fonterra have been shown a huge amount of patience to allow them to explain exactly what is going on, how it came about, what they have done since, and what they will do from here on in.

That’s ignoring the fact that they have been on this issue since March.

Instead we get this

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says it is too early to point the finger at what went wrong or why, as fallout continues from the contamination of some of its products.

Briefing local media on a conference call from Beijing yesterday, Mr Spierings says the co-operative is first focusing on consumer health and containing the situation.

They’re hiding behind the “we’re concerned about health” line for days now, and even then they can’t tell us exactly what products are affected.

Here’s my prediction:  Once the dust has settled, it will be discovered that their QA systems and record keeping aren’t up to scratch.  Anyone who has worked in consumer food production industries knows about the requirements and importance of batch control and being able to trace all the ingredients and final output.

The alternative is worse.  If their QA and batch control is just fine, and they know exactly what’s going on, then they are sitting on a problem so big (I’m thinking near-total recall of all product), that the option of coming clean simply isn’t available to them.

One of Whaloil’s Rules of Politics will apply here: It is never the original mistake that takes you down. It is always the attempt at covering it up.

Russia banning all products seemed like a pretty over-the-top reaction a few days ago, but in the context of a company that can’t even come up with answers to the basic question: “Please tell us all the products that are affected”, perhaps Russia’s response wasn’t that extreme after all.

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