Take a look at the picture below. What do you see? A drool inducing food porn advertisement or a campaign aiming to raise awareness of campylobacter? Whatever your interpretation, it certainly captures the attention!
Found in contaminated food, campylobacter infection is a type of gastroenteritis that can cause serious health problems such as diarrhoea, fever and stomach cramps. Photoshopped by the art team at The Grocer, this picture is a playful interpretation of what could be done to help educate the nation about the dangers of campylobacter in raw chicken.
Editors maintain that the photo is a light-hearted response to the recent scaremongering tactics that the newly established Food Crime Unit (FCU) appears to be employing. Rather than focus on educating the public the FSA is taking a ‘name and shame’ approach, as demonstrated by its recent public discrediting of supermarkets selling chicken with high traces of campylobacter.
According to the FSA the public finger pointing was part of a drive to increase consumer awareness about the dangers of campylobacter. This was inspired by a recent Which? Report that revealed just 33% of Brits has heard of campylobacter infection. This is alarmingly low compared to 94% awareness of salmonella and 92% awareness of ecoli.
Yet while intentions may have been good industry experts claim that the FSA’s populist tactics could seriously damage the supply chain, reduce its capability to invest in strategies to reduce cases of campylobacter and do very little to educate consumers. Building campaigns on shock value could also make it extremely difficult for manufacturers to trust the FSA and provide sensitive information around food fraud risks.
The negative impacts of the FSA’s ruthless approach have already come to light, with national calls to boycott supermarket chicken and even ban raw poultry altogether. This will inevitably lead to a drop in the sales of supermarket chicken, regardless of whether or not the supplier was named and shamed. This completely contradicts the FSA’s aims of boosting Britain’s international food safety reputation, opening up international markets and restoring consumer confidence.
Instead, industry experts claim that taking a different approach to education could be the key. Eye catching images like the above could be an effective way of capturing consumer attention and educating them on the dangers of campylobacter and raw chicken.
In the wake of public response to its ‘name and shame’ tactics it may take a different approach that supports Britain’s food industry and focusses on educating consumers the right way.
What’s your opinion on the controversial campaign? Is this the way forward?