Houdart: The Belgian Food Safety Agency wants to regain consumer trust

Philippe Houdart, director of the crisis management unit of the Belgian Food Safety Agency, talks about the communication problem that the agency had during the two of the largest food scandals that took place in Belgium.

Posted on Sep 10 ,15:12

During the 13th edition of Belgian Meat Round Table, in Brussels, Philippe Houdart held a presentation which focused on the “crisis management and/versus crisis communication in times of a click baits focused media”. 

Mr. Houdart talked about two food scandals, the fiprinol incident and the Veviba fraud scandal, during which the agency received a lot of criticism regarding the way it was communcating. 

"Both cases were about fraud which is a very difficult and sensitive topic. And it is difficult also to communicate. So, in both cases we found ourselves on a rollercoaster, where we did lose our grip on communication and where we were the subject of press attention and press criticism for how we handled the crisis. Although, I must say, we handled from a practical view, from an operational view these two incidents in a very good way,"declared Houdart.

Mr. Houdart added that the agency is currently working on regaining the trust of the Belgian consumers.

"What we see due to these incidents is that we lost part of the consumer’s confidence, so its our task now to regain that confidence and to make sure that the consumer will pick up the message again on what we have to say about food safety."

The event took place between August 29 and August 30, 2018, in Brussels and was attended by leaders, experts, and journalists from the meat industry. This year, the main subject of discussion was "Meat in the post-truth era."

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