Business Ethics Maple Leaffoods

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Reaction Paper I-Maple Leaf Foods
In Aug 2012, a Toronto Maple Leaf Foods (“the Company”) plant was confirmed as being involved in the outbreak of the food-borne illness, caused by the bacterium Listeria. A day later, Maple Leaf upgraded a precautionary recall of 23 of its products in previous week to all 220 packaged meats from the plant at the Bartor’s Road, which has been shut down. The company has estimated the recall will directly cost it at least $20 million, with further costs expected due to lost sales and reputation damage. Since the outbreak of Listeria bacterium, 22 people died and there were 57 total confirmed cases of illness caused by Listeria 1. Although the Listeria outbreak was described by the Company’s CEO as “the toughest situation we’ve faced in the 100 years of this company’s history2”, the Company’s reaction to the crisis was accountable and prompt. They immediately recalled the contaminated products, enhanced stricter safety controls and compensated the victims proactively. I believe Maple Leaf Foods management’s actions on this issue had both unethical and ethical elements. This paper will adopt the moral reasoning models and principles to dissect and analyze these issues.

During the class discussion, there are different views on whether Maple Leaf Foods acted ethically or unethically on this crisis. Majority believed that Maple Leaf acted ethically by trying their best to take accountable and effective remediation plans, however, there were opposing views questioning the Company’s food safety controls prior to the Listeria crisis which caused huge damage to the society, therefore believed that the Company’s actions were unethical. As illustrated in the first paragraph, I would like to split the issue into two parts. The first part will focus on Maple Leaf’s actions prior to the Listeria outbreak, the root causes of the outbreak and whether they acted ethically under such circumstances. Secondly, I would like to discuss Maple...
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