Writing Assignment: Crisis Communication
Menu Foods’ Crisis Communication
Menu Foods was the largest maker of wet cat and dog food in North America, and the company was identified as a supermarket, pet product retailer or wholesaler. In 2007, Menu Foods was part of a recall of up to 100 brands and 60 million cans of pet food, which was the largest pet food recall in history. On March 15th. 2007, the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, initiated the pet food recall. But not until April did the FDA announce that it was an ingredient, wheat gluten imported from China that contained the melamine which led to a kidney failure. This contaminated food caused 100 pets to die by the end of March and caused nearly 500 kidney failures. Menu Foods’ crisis communication was ineffective in three ways: first, Menu Foods did not institute a product recall until March 16, 2007, 24 hours after the FDA initiated it, which demonstrated that Menu Foods lacked a quick response to the crisis; second, its CEO, Paul Henderson, lacked clarity in answering questions during the investigation, which demonstrated that Menu Foods lacked transparency; third, Menu Foods did not apologize to the public, which demonstrated a lack of concern and sympathy for the victims of the crisis.
Menu Foods did not institute a product recall until March 16, 2007, 24 hours after the FDA initiated it, which demonstrated that Menu Foods lacked a quick response to the crisis. For example, on March 15, 2007, the FDA initiated a pet food recall; however, Menu Foods did not announce its own recall until a day later on March 16. This 24-hour gap indicated Menu Foods’ did not have a quick response, which demonstrated that the company did not realize how serious this issue would become. Although its CEO, Paul Henderson said that the company acted at a “feverish speed” to recall the pet food, the reality was different: first, the company did not announce the pet food recall until