Porter Novelli

Let’s see.  If today is Monday, there is going to be a food product recall today.  Are we psychic?  Not exactly.  So how can we be so confident about this?  Unfortunately, as rare as these serious crises may be for most of our clients and companies, the truth is:  they do happen every day – literally.  Find that hard to believe?  Check out www.recallowl.com

The most notable food recall in the past two weeks  has been for salmonella-contaminated cantaloupe that has killed two people and sickened almost 200 consumers in 21 states.  Beyond the fact that this recall builds on many other deadly cantaloupe recalls over the past few years, this particular one has come under media scrutiny because the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) pinpointed at least one source of the contamination, but refused to name it immediately.  This is evidence that every crisis has a new and unique wrinkle.  So even if one could argue that cantaloupe recalls should be formulaic by now, the reality is that no matter how much you prepare, no crisis unfolds exactly according to your crisis communications plan.

Speaking of crisis communications plans, when is the last time you updated yours?  With a food recall happening at least once a day, no food marketer can afford to be complacent.  Even if the daily recalls are not focused on deadly contaminants, there is a broad spectrum of incidents that could threaten your brand’s reputation and cause products to be removed from retail shelves.

So let this serve as your reminder to dust off your crisis communications plan.  Ask yourself, “Are the scenarios still relevant? Are the response team members still the most appropriate? Are the potential spokespeople still engaged and pertinent?  Does this plan include a strategy for social media?  Would my team benefit from coordinating a brief drill to make sure we truly are familiar with this plan?”  If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” your Porter Novelli team is standing by to assist you.