Why retail leaders should watch 'Rotten'

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Why retail leaders should watch 'Rotten'

By Gina Acosta - 01/23/2018

A new Netflix documentary series, “Rotten,” alleges widespread corruption and fraud in the food supply chain.

Each of the six episodes tackles controversies of different food sectors, and takes Big Food, and some retailers, to task for not being upfront with consumers about their supply chain practices.

The series' explosive allegations regarding what it calls dishonest food companies, flawed government regulations and the consequences of questionable international trade practices are generating tremendous amounts of publicity and food suppliers and retailers have been bearing the brunt of complaints from consumers.

One of the largest companies criticized in the series is Christopher Ranch, a California garlic supplier to retailers around the world. Christopher Ranch garlic is sold at Costco nad many other retailers.

Ken Christopher, a third generation farmer and Christopher Ranch’s executive vice president, told a California newspaper that the company’s lawyers have demanded a retraction. 

“We felt like our reputation has been dragged completely through the mud for the sake of entertainment,” Christopher said, adding his company is proud of its commitment to its customers and community to be both ethical and transparent regarding our business operations.

The show’s producer, Zero Point Zero, based in New York, said in a statement: “The series was created to hold the food industry accountable, and we stand by the reporting in the episode and in the series.”

Christopher Ranch is not the only company and industry made to look like bad guys in the documentary, which has been widely praised and favorably reviewed by the mainstream media.

Among the series' other allegations: 

  • More than 20 percent of American chickens are owned by a corporation in Brazil whose proprietors have been charged with bribery and insider trading
  • Most of the nearly 50 billion pounds of garlic the world eats each year comes from China, and much of it is peeled by inmates
  • Twenty-five percent of the groundfish quotas in New England are owned by a man who is currently serving a 46-month sentence for conspiracy and false labeling
  • Most honey sold in the United States is fake

Watch the trailer for "Rotten" by clicking here.