Over the four years the U.S. Dairy Export Council has been working with U.S. dairy processors to build an overseas crisis readiness program, we’ve learned much. Companies that are “early movers” in a crisis situation typically resolve crises more quickly with fewer missteps than those late to the game. Tailoring your crisis response to specific countries and cultures can mean the difference between a successful resolution and a ruined reputation. And — the topic of this column — establishing a crisis preparedness plan with key supply chain partners prior to any crisis event is essential to a positive outcome.
Case in point: Fonterra Cooperative Group’s handling of its 2013 botulism false alarm. With multiple in-depth post-mortems detailing the company’s flawed response to the incident (which involved whey powder suspected of being tainted with Clostridium botulinum), the case contains critical lessons for the U.S. dairy industry.