ground beef recall


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.