More On Product Tampering

On February 4th. I touched lightly on the article titled Check Your Medicine Before You Buy It by cautioning consumers and retailers about checking medicine packages. I'll extend that caution to all products with "tamper proof" packaging.

Just last week a South Florida woman was charged with poisoning baby food products at a Publix grocery store. View the video on NBC6.NET. According to various media reports the woman, Shirley Ybarra of Sunrise, Florida, was observed, on video, placing a substance, smelling like ammonia, into jars of baby food.  When confronted by store employees the woman told them she was "mixing food for her son" - it was later determined that her son is in her twenties.

Here's a video from Blinkx Video showing the jars of contaminated baby food. Note, one of the jars is marked with the number "12" indicating that this was at-least the twelfth jar of food that was found. According to news reports, this woman had gone undetected as employee and customers passed her by on the aisle.

This is a rare case as far as product tampering goes. Most cases are not discovered at the time of contamination. No doubt Publix's crisis management team immediately acted to determine whether or not the woman had visited other Publix stores. On January 25th I wrote a short blog on Crisis Management Operations.

I have written a Product Tampering policy for the grocery industry. If you are a grocery retailer, contact me, with an email address, and I'll be happy to forward it to you.

Curtis Baillie - Security Consulting Strategies, LLC