How Cargill Ruined Its Reputation in a Single Tweet

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Reputations are a funny thing. It takes years to build them but mere seconds to destroy them.

Cargill, a company that provides all manner of agricultural products and services, has managed to ruin its reputation with farmers and science writers in a single tweet. On March 17, the company announced its partnership with the thoroughly wretched Non-GMO Project*, an anti-biotech organization that sticks a goofy "non-GMO verified" label on everything from water to kitty litter.

Here's the tweet:

And the flood gates swung open wide. The backlash was swift, brutal, and effective.

In full-blown damage control, the company's Twitter page has been rather busy. It rushed out a statement that said that the company didn't agree with what the Non-GMO Project stands for, but partnered with them anyway because consumers wanted it. In other words, they admitted that it was about money, not science.

That didn't go over well.

Time will tell if insulting some of their biggest customers and business partners is a sound strategy for Cargill.

*Note: See this new article by Stephan Neidenbach for more information on the Non-GMO Project.