There is nothing simple about making a life in rural Kentucky.

There is nothing simple about making a living raising goats and chickens.

There is nothing simple about marrying your sweetheart and raising a couple of kids so far out in the country that you cannot pick up a television signal and cable is out of the question.

It would, however, have been so simple to satisfy Greg and Cathy Gaddis of rural Corydon, KY after Greg bit into glass pieces from inside a can of creamed corn manufactured by Seneca Foods and purchased at their local Save-A-Lot Store.

All Save-A-Lot and Seneca Foods would have had to do would have been to step forward and inform their customers that glass pieces might be hiding in their cream corn.

Greg Gaddis, who spit out one piece of glass and had a hard time stopping the bleeding until his wife removed a second piece from inside his cheek, probably would have been satisfied with posting a few signs inside stores that might be impacted.

In Greg Gaddis’ world, after stopping the bleeding and thanking God that he, not one of his children, was the one to bite in the glass, the very next thing he wanted to do was to warn others about the potential danger in the cream corn.

His local Save-A-Lot Foods Store told him he’d have to wait until the manager came back, and attempts to reach the canning company were not immediately successful.  He bought the cream corn on Dec. 2nd, but did not eat it until Dec. 12th, a Saturday.   His effort gained no traction on the following Sunday.

“You have the opportunity to protect your customers,” he e-mailed Save-A-Lot Foods.  “And all you have to do is INFORM them.”

“At a bare minimum have the specific stores that Batch J9MJ092B 0231 3612 CS CORN of cream corn were shipped to post a sign notifying anyone who may have purchased between Date “A” and “B” to check before consuming or bring it in for exchange of produce…”

The local Fox affiliate, with a signal out of reach of the Gaddis farm, did pick up on the story and put Greg’s glass injury on its news broadcast. The Cincinnati District Office of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) did call him back and took information for a report and promised an investigation.

Only then did Greg hear from someone in Seneca’s Consumer Affairs Department.  According to Greg, the Seneca representative had no interest in the pictures of the injury, glass and can.  Pictures were all FDA needed to get their investigation underway.

The Seneca representative did say the company needed the actual glass and can to “begin” an investigation, which sounded plenty fishy to Greg

On Dec. 17th, Greg e-mailed that Seneca representative back saying “there has still been no public information by Seneca Foods or Save-A-Lot to check potentially tainted food items for the safety of the public.  Since Seneca Foods packages for Libby’s, Stokely, Green Giant (General Mills), Aunt Nellie’s, Blue Boys, Diamond etc., the problem is obviously bigger than I could have imagined.  I thought it was just the Save-A-Lot brand.

Food Safety News sought comment from Seneca Foods, but they did not opt to get back to us.

Maureen Shannon, who speaks for Save-A-Lot Stores did tell us: “At Save-A-Lot, the health and safety of our customers is a top priority. Immediately upon learning of this situation, we contacted the manufacturer and initiated an investigation. As of December 15, 2009, we have documented the claim and removed all products, with this lot number, from all store shelves pending our internal investigation.

For the record, Greg plans to continue to shop at Saves-A-Lot Stores.   He just thinks the local store should have been able to move faster without waiting for the manager, who was helpful, upon return.

As for Seneca Foods, Greg is correct.   It is one of the country’s largest processors of canned fruits and vegetables in the United States.

Seneca Foods products are sold under the Libby’s, Aunt Nellie’s Farm Kitchen, Stokely’s, READ, and Seneca labels and under an alliance with General Mills Operations, LLC, a successor to the Pillsbury Company and a subsidiary of General Mills, Inc., Seneca produces canned and frozen vegetables, which are sold by General Mills Operations, LLC under the Green Giant label.

My question is “why would all of those valuable brands want to stake their futures on a company with such lousy public relations?”

Greg Gaddis is not your enemy.  He is your customer.

It’s that simple.

Until next time.