Marketing food safety: Maple Lodge Farms deli-meat edition

Maple Lodge Farms is often confused with Maple Leaf Foods, the latter of the listeria mess in Canada a year ago that killed 22 people.

In an effort to protect their brand, Maple Lodge has taken to marketing food safety. And I’m all for it.

These full-page advertisements are from a couple of Canadian magazines, the Sept. 2009 issue of Today’s Parent (right), and the Oct. 2009 issue of Canadian Living (below, left).

There’s far too many sick people, and far too much bureau-dancing around foodborne illness: The best food producers, processors, retailers and restaurants should go above and beyond minimal government and auditor standards and sell food safety solutions directly to the public. The best organizations will use their own people to demand ingredients from the best suppliers; use a mixture of encouragement and enforcement to foster a food safety culture; and use technology to be transparent — whether it’s live webcams in the facility or real-time test results on the website — to help restore the shattered trust with the buying public.

Those companies that promote food safety culture can market their activities, and then consumers have a way to choose at the check-out aisle, providing feedback to those companies that make food safety a public priority.

Maple Lodge isn’t so much promoting a food safety culture as a technological fix. But at least they’re out there. A case could be made that the tomatoes, lettuce and sprouts pictured in these sandwiches also pose a significant food safety risk. That’s why buyers have to source food from safe sources.