The Trust Game: Who Wins?
People tend to trust the government with matters of their health rather than big business. Makes sense, right? Government is driven to pursue the goals and interests of the people. Businesses are driven by profit margins, as well as investors, shareholders and a whole slew of factors that does not revolve around consumer health. The Gallup “Trust in Institutions” Poll from June 2013 has big business far down on the list, only slightly more trusted than congress, HMO’s and organized labor.
In a modern, internet-centric age, this is should no longer be the case. Big business is now-more than ever-accountable to the people in a faster, more efficient way than government.
Food Babe is an investigative food blogger who discovered that Subway was using a harmful chemical in their bread . This ingredient, Azodicarbonamide, is also commonly used in shoe rubber and yoga mats. Although approved by the FDA, Azodicarbonamide is illegal in many countries in Europe as well as Australia due to its proven health dangers.
Within 24 hours of Food Babe releasing her petition against this ingredient, 57,000 people had signed her online petition. Within three days Subway issued an announcement that they were “already in the process of removing Azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts” and that “the complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon.”
Meanwhile, the FDA says there is “a reasonable certainty of no harm” when an additive is used and has made no significant actions.
Subway, while maybe reacting swiftly just to save their image, is creating a beneficial change that may take Congress and years of lobbying to do. With the power of her blog, Food Babe was able to exact change with a corporation as large, and a supply chain as long as Subway’s within days. A little blog was able to take on a big corporation and win, which teaches us a lot about how communication can be effective if you use the right channels. The little guy won, because they knew exactly how to attack the problem.