EDITORIAL | Grab that Tiger by the tail and talk to us clearly
Tiger Brands’s non-transparent, over-wordy statement about the recall of tinned goods merely creates confusion
SA’s biggest food producer issued an 800-word SENS announcement on Monday morning, attempting to explain a decision to recall “a portion” of canned vegetable products. Unfortunately for Tiger Brands, any bad press conjures up only one memory for the consumer: the world’s deadliest listeriosis outbreak, which happened on South African soil. Its public relations department must know this all too well — all the more reason for the company to be transparent. Yet questions remain after reading the reams of lines dotted with “coulds” and “small quantities” and “low probabilities” and “quality assurances”.
Tiger Brands starts by reminding its shareholders of its “disclosure in respect of defective packaging materials at one of the company’s sites” in May. “This related specifically to a small number (18) of leaking food cans which had been identified by Tiger Brands Groceries division during May 2021, as part of its internal quality assurance processes.” The first question that comes to mind is why were the cans not recalled in May? Upon further reading, it appears that at the time it was believed all affected stock was in-house and had not been sent to trade.
More explanations follow. The defective cans were identified before final labelling took place. Then another “incident” occurred, when the company was informed that three more batches “could have presented the same defect” — a deficient side seam weld that “could” cause cans to leak. “It is important to note that all the affected finished products manufactured, using these six defective batches of cans, were never released to the trade,” the statement emphasises. ..