I often wonder what has happened to the business environment in this country. Toyota is in the middle of yet another recall. Toyota's reliability was once a bankable commodity. Then there is Johnson & Johnson with nine recalls in less than a year. I remember the Tylenol recall of a couple of months ago but in that one I was a bystander. We don't use Tylenol because it isn't really effective for us. But the recall of Acuvue contact lenses was a different matter. I checked that out very carefully because I wear Acuvue lenses--thankfully not the ones covered by the recall. As if the recall wasn't enough the FDA has warned a subsidiary of the company to stop marketing two medical products one of which has not yet been approved and the other which was being marketed for unapproved uses.
This MSNBC story is interesting in light of the recent egg recall (and other food recalls of the last few years) but confirms some of my gut instincts on the probable effect of the recalls on consumers' habits. Any changes in eating habits are likely to be transitory unless the individual consumer has been directly affected. I noticed a poll associated with the story which asks if the reader has changed his/her eating habits due to the scare. I can honestly say that I haven't. Our habits changed before the salmonella outbreak and for reasons other than safety. We found that we liked the locally raised, cage-free eggs we buy at one of our year-round farmers' markets better than those we got from the supermarket and were worth both the few cents more per dozen and the longer trip to get them. We stopped buying the packages of salad-ready lettuce mixes well before the e-coli scare. They just did not keep well and it is no bargain when half of the package goes bad before you can eat it. The recall simply confirmed us in a change we had already made. However, I rather expect that most people will go back to buying what ever they had been buying once the scare recedes. Emily Perkins and John Meo at the Norwich Bulletin have a humorous and personal take on the matter. It is a fun read.