When Aim toothpaste moved its production to India I stopped buying it.
When I read in a newspaper that most of the garlic in our supermarkets came from China I detoured to an organic shop to get my supplies, on the assumption they’d be locally grown.
While chatting to the woman serving me I mentioned why I was there. She replied, “This probably comes from China too.”
Seeing the look on my face she sought to reassure me by saying it would be organic. The reassurance didn’t work because I don’t have strong feelings about the benefits of organic over whatever food that isn’t organic is called (because it can’t be inorganic).
But I do have very strong feelings about food safety and I’m not confident enough about standards in places like India and China to put their produce in my mouth if there’s an alternative.
I say feelings because this is primarily an emotional response not a rational one. I don’t have any facts about the companies which make the toothpaste and grow the garlic to back up my reservations, and I’ve never been to either country.
But it’s not facts that matter here it’s feelings and that should be worrying Fonterra because as Philippa Stephenson points out over at Dig ‘n’ Stir the news of the contaminated infant milk formula has hit the world headlines.
Fonterra said it did everything it could once it found out about the contamination. That will be cold comfort for the families whose babies died or are ill and it won’t wash with consumers who regardless of the facts might feel happier choosing another brand next time.