The nation's meat producers and processors often face challenging
issues which range from concerns about eco-terrorism to BSE
(so-called "mad cow disease") to product recalls. When a national
meat processor decided to voluntarily recall thousands of pounds of
ground beef from a multi-state distribution area, due to potential
health concerns, there was an immediate need to get accurate,
non-alarmist information distributed to the affected states,
consumers and media.
L&F worked with the company's crisis management team to
determine what levels and types of communication would be needed. A
multi-level, multi-phase communications approach was developed to
ensure all impacted vendors, customers, consumers, state and
federal agencies, as well as media, had timely and accurate
information in accordance with federal rules and regulations.
But this effort went beyond simply providing information about
the specific recall. An educational effort, with messaging about
food handling and safety, was also part of the process. It was
important for consumers to understand the nation's ground beef
supply was safe and that they could ensure the safety of their
families by following proper food handling and preparation
guidelines. Food safety experts were made available for media
interviews and a toll free hotline, staffed by an R.N. was
established for consumer calls.
The result of this multi-level communications effort was that
consumers and customers received timely notification of the issue
and, at the same time, were reassured that this was not a crisis.
The story did generate considerable media coverage, but did not
turn into weeks of negative press.
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