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The news has been filled with interesting ethical issues. The Trayvon Martin case, Pink Slime and the New Orleans Saints bounty program all make for interesting study. These issues remind me of my university business ethics class.

Pink Slime issue started about one year ago when celebrity chef Jamie Oliver did a show on what exactly Pink Slime is (animal byproducts that normally go into pet food). Mr. Oliver states that human stomachs are different from dogs and cats and can’t process this byproduct as efficiently. The USDA putting this in school lunch hamburger has spotlighted the issue.

Some stores, including Whole Foods and Costco, said they never used this additive. Others have stated they will not use it in the future (meaning the probably did use it) and at least one, Wal-Mart, said it would offer hamburger with and without the additive. We live in an age where we feel that there should always be full disclosure. Should this have been disclosed to customers? Would you have allowed it to be sold without informing the buyers about it?

The NFL is a franchise albeit much different than what we think of when we usually hear the word franchise. Imagine you’re a franchisor and one of your most successful and popular franchisees (like the Saints) was breaking the rules. Would you impose penalties as harsh as the NFL did? Would you send the message to all franchisees that behavior of this type won’t be tolerated? Too many businesses don’t (take this action). I applaud the NFL for what they did.

“If there were no bad people there would be no good lawyers.” Charles Dickens

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