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Two Domino’s Pizza employees have been hit with felony charges after they deliberately contaminated food that they were making, and then posted video of their acts on YouTube.com.

According to a story in the New York Times, “a Domino’s employee in Conover, N.C., prepared sandwiches for delivery while putting cheese up his nose, nasal mucus on the sandwiches, and violating other health-code standards while a fellow employee provided narration. The two were charged with delivering prohibited foods.”

The videos were seen more than a million times on YouTube.

While Domino’s is said to be considering the filing of a civil lawsuit against the two former employees (they were promptly fired by the company), it is still reeling from the public relations debacle. “In just a few days, Domino’s reputation was damaged,” the Times writes. “The perception of its quality among consumers went from positive to negative since Monday, according to the research firm YouGov, which holds online surveys of about 1,000 consumers every day regarding hundreds of brands.”

And critics are saying that Domino’s made a tactical error by not responding more aggressively, apparently believing that the issue would blow over. But its executives were wrong, and discovered that not only were the YouTube videos being widely seen, but that the issue was being focused on in places like Google and Twitter, giving the problem a life of its own.

KC's View:
I’m not sure that Domino’s could have done anything to eliminate any problems, but at the very least people there have to understand the viral nature of Internet commentary. You have to move quickly and decisively, and cannot afford to hesitate.

The simple fact is that you read the description of what those employees were doing, and you just don't want to buy anything from Domino’s. Ever.

On the other hand, this is a great opportunity for supermarkets to advertise “guaranteed mucous-free pizza.”