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Business Ethics and the Food Industry

In: Business and Management

Submitted By doodoomamajuju
Words 3780
Pages 16
Ethics and the Food Industry
By:
Diana Rhyne and John Hanley

In early 2009, Peanut Corp. of America was discovered to have allowed Salmonella tainted peanuts to be distributed across the United States causing an outbreak that resulted illnesses in 714 people across 46 states with nine resulting in deaths ("Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention", 2009). In this paper, we will explore the concept of corporate social responsibility and some of the current ethical dilemmas many corporations in the food industry face today. We will further discuss the many arguments (in favor of and in opposition to) these ethical dilemmas, or why these issues pose an ethical dilemma. Finally, we will examine the consequences of unethical behavior in the food industry and how consumer demand/behavior affects corporate decision-making. In the food industry, a corporation’s actions/inactions are often far reaching. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not a new concept. The idea that a business (or business person) should behave in an ethical and socially responsible manner has roots in Biblical times with the advent of usury laws. During the 1700s, Benjamin Franklin was an early advocate for business ethics, going so far as to form a club for young businessmen, tradesmen, and merchants to come together to discuss business philosophies and further their careers (Finamore, 2005: 35-38). CSR is generally based on the idea that companies can be held socially and ethically accountable to their stakeholders (Maloni, 2006: 35-52). A short list of potential corporate stakeholders includes, but is not limited to: customers, employees, governments (both foreign and domestic), communities, NGOs, investors, supply chain members, unions, regulators, and the media.
The food industry, it can be argued, is unique in that there is not a...

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