Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Eating a peanut butter and crisis sandwich

Posted by thecastlegroup on March 20, 2009

Today, The Castle Group’s Hilary Allard (VP of our consumer practice), talks about the finger-pointing, lack of crisis preparation and overall miscommunication that have surfaced as a result of the peanut butter salmonella crisis.

 

The ongoing House committee hearings on food safety resulting from the recent Peanut Corporation of America recall, brought to light an industry dilemma illustrated in an article in today’s New York Times: “F.D.A. officials said they largely relied on the industry to ensure the safety of food. But industry representatives said at the hearing Thursday that they relied on the F.D.A. to ensure that food was produced safely.”


Clearly, there needs to be a defined chain of reporting when it comes to food inspections. Our increasingly complex food sourcing demands it.  

 

This conflict underscores the need for all food companies to have a comprehensive crisis communications plan in place. The time to create such a plan is before a crisis happens, not when it’s underway. Creating a crisis communications plan is an investment of time, money and effort, which pays off ten-fold if and when it needs to be used. Having the full engagement of senior executives to explore all the possible “what if” scenarios is critical.

 

Even when companies feel that they are behaving ethically and performing due diligence, flaws in the system may cause manufacturers to become swept up in a crisis. Having a clear action plan in place that allows for a swift response and transparency can save a company’s money, time and reputation.

 

 

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