CHICAGO — A billion people can’t be wrong, right?

As it turns out, when it comes to food safety it doesn’t matter if they’re wrong. Once a product is associated with foodborne illnesses on social media sites it’s like striking a match in a straw house. Negative posts, shares, and retweets can burn a brand…

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles leading up to the 20th annual Food Safety Summit. The event, from May 7-10 at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in suburban Chicago, includes certification courses; a trade show with exhibitors from industry, academia and government; an extensive list of seminars and panel discussions; and

CHICAGO — On a keynote panel mostly about the angst being felt around food safety, Costco’s Craig Wilson was the calmest guy in the house. And why not?

When Wilson, Costco Wholesale Corporation’s vice president for food safety, asked those in the 1,000-seat theater if any of them had Costco cards, half to two-thirds raised…