How many times as a consumer you have walked inside a grocery store or liquor store or a fast food junction and asked the question ‘Is my food ethically made?’. Conscience is an ability that distinguishes whether one’s actions are right or wrong. There are many companies that let go of their conscience and follow unethical practices , so this serves as a potential risk for the consumer. These insatiable hunger for profits often cloud the judgement of manufacturers, and this temptation leads to adulteration, or inferior quality food commodity being made. I could not think of a company that would love to lose its revenue. One example of this unethical practice was made by Nestle. In 2018 Nestle India was served with summons regarding their excess content of MSG in their top selling commodity Maggie noodles. The company tried to add extra MSG to their spice recipe, MSG is a flavour enhancer and there are limits set to its consumption. MSG is also linked with its potential carcinogenic effects , the company was selling this spiked spice mix for quite some time but once discovered , Nestle India was made to pay hefty fines and they were forced by FSSAI to recall their food product. One more such incident that I remember is the recall that China made with its infant formula. China in 2004-05 was a leading supplier and manufacturer of milk and milk products. SMP is a major ingredient of infant formula, it provides the required protein needed in infant formula to promote healthy growth of infants. In the year 2008 the infant death rate spiked exceptionally , when investigated it was found out that Chinese companies were supplementing their infant formula with Melamine, a nitrogen rich compound that is used to make switch boards and panels. Melamine when added to infant formula spiked the N content giving a false reading of high protein content. This is an example of unethical practice. China received a lot of criticism for this, they were made to recall all their products and ever since then Chinese milk products are banned throughout the world.
Unethical practices are very common in the alcohol industry, spices industry, juice industry almost all the food businesses have witnessed these practices. Unwanted outcomes in the food manufacturing is very common, a single change in the unit operation or any stage can lead to the production of a inferior quality product, what companies need to do is rise above the simple notion of profit or loss and take responsibility for their actions. Unethical practices is such a wide topic labour , raw material, distribution , practically everything related to food can come under it .A good understanding of the role of ethics in business must include some appreciation of the range of problems at hand , plus the ability to think beyond mere profit is needed to tackle this problem