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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Food Chain Predators and Preys – In Defense of the Exploited

I am tempted to say, in fact I believe this to be true, that everyone knows something about food chain predators and preys. Did you also know that the industrial or commercial variety of the food chain also has its predators and preys? You probably learned about ecological food chain predators and preys in school. The industrial and commercial food chain equivalent is not formerly taught. Food industry participants learn about these as they engaged in business or commercial activities. Unfortunately, many industry participants do not know when they become preys.
A "survival-of-the-fittest" rage continues to devastate the industry. In their campaign to subdue unsuspecting preys, the predators are constantly coming up with new schemes. Do you know the predators that see your food business as prey? Are you able to recognize an industrial or commercial predator? If you can recognize these, that is great. You are probably already able to avoid them. If not, here are some key characteristics of the predators for which to watch:

Commercial Predator Traits:
  • They pretend to be helping you solve problems but clearly not. They make money at your expense because the problems you face persist or even expand in spite of their "help";
  • They sell you products or services that you do not need but fail to provide you with the means and facts
    that would enable you to assess the true value of their products or services;
  • They sell make-belief solutions for problems that do not exist;
  • They make you pay annual fees for them to tell you, every year, what you already;
  • They dazzle you with meaningless statistics about their products and services;
  • They make you pay more for useless diplomatic responses if you dare to challenge the validity of the products or services that they have sold to you; 
  • They systematically draw and entrap you in a state of dependence on them;
  • They constantly find ways to make you believe that you will fail without their products or services;
  • They frequently change things around or change the rules of engagement to make sure that you are unable to meet the "standards" that they have unilaterally set;  
  • They increase the stakes (the price or the heat) when they find you in a tight corner;
  • They make you do all the work and charge you for the labour.
. . . you know you've been taken if the ship goes nowhere. . . 

. . . it is not deception if it is immediately blatant:

"Don't let them fool ya! Or even try to school ya!"
 - Bob Marley
Predators will entice you with sweet words about success as they turn up the heat. As in the common illustration about a frog in a pot of water that eventually reaches the boiling point, companies that become enchanted by the schemes of their predators may feel the warmth of success and, even when they feel the temperature rising, they do not check to make sure that they are not being cooked. Predators would say "we can help" but do the opposite as they take your money and run.

The SSQA Concept proposes a collaborative arrangement that eliminates predator-prey relationships.

Posted by Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is currently the chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection, and a sworn SSQA advocate. 

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