Crisis Team Members:
_______________________, Crisis Team Leader (and Media Spokesperson), 555-1212
_____________________________, Company President and/or Owner, 555-1213
_____________________________, Company Sales Manager, 555-1214
Crisis Communication Plan
In response to any crisis situation (anyone answering the phone regarding a pathogen test result or questions and complaints from media or customers, or anyone hearing a grapevine comment in the community) all employees are trained to contact ___________________ (Team Leader) immediately, and to refer all questions to______________________(Team Leader). Other employees should not attempt to answer any questions or respond to any phone calls, but should refer all calls to the Team Leader.
The following information, with pertinent names and phone numbers filled in, should be kept in a notebook that is readily assessable to the Crisis Team Leader at all times.
Team Leader should have a plan, or flow chart, developed to address the following:
- Which media representative(s) will be notified
- Who will handle media notification?
- Should media access to situation be limited in any way?
- Identify respected third parties, which will support company�s position.
- Determine how to communicate situation to employees.
When You Get "The Call"
Crisis Team shall meet, in person, within 1 hour of the notification of the crisis situation to:
- Get all of your facts straight (How much product is involved? Where is the affected product? Product label names, code dates, and sizes of products, etc.), before contacting your inspection division. With the proper records, a public recall may not be necessary.
- Determine what additional information or expertise is needed.
- Identify targeted audiences who may have a stake in the outcome of the crisis.
- Determine what further action is needed:
Prepared by Lynn Knipe, OSU Meats Extension Specialist, Lamar Hendricks, Regulatory Compliance, Hillshire Farms & Kahns, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Deb Abbott, Ohio Department of Agriculture, October, 1999
For ODA-inspected establishments, public notification of a voluntary recall is required within 24 hours. Also, responses to media questions should be made as soon as possible. All public statements should be truthful and candid. The company will take control of the message, by minimizing references to outside, agencies or companies for further information. It is very important that you get the product name(s), package sizes, and lot or code numbers clearly identified in your announcement, in order to minimize additional confusion later. See the example of a press release on the following page. Copies should be prepared, with space left on blank lines to fill in product names, dates, etc., for most efficient response. Team leader, or other designees, will cooperate with the media, treating them as the messenger, not as the enemy. Daily communication with media will occur during the initial few days of the crisis, to update media with the latest information. Media Spokesperson should be prepared with a list of "talking points," which address:
- company's concern with the problem
- that this is a voluntary recall
- cooperating with ODA or FSIS in the process
- that the problem is fixed
Statements may be checked by legal counsel prior to public notification, to protect company's legal rights, therefore, media will need to be informed of the forthcoming information. Team leader or other designee, will make regular contact with any victims, resulting from the crisis.
Crisis Communication Training
All employees and management, who might be expected to receive incoming telephone calls will be required to complete training, regarding what to say and who should be the spokesperson. Update training is required at least once each year. Crisis Team Leader will conduct training, and a training record will be kept.
Sample recall notice
Fact sheet on company
Positive, but hopefully honest message, to emphasize that you are a producer of high quality meat (and/or other food) products for _____ years, operating under state or federal inspection, implementing SSOP and HACCP programs, employing ____ people, in the __________________ (county, city, state) area.
Emergency Management Directory
Key customers, brokers, and phone numbers
MODEL PRESS RELEASE FOR PUBLIC RECALL
NOTE.- We recommend release is placed on company letterhead
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: [company contact and telephone where he/she can be reached even after hours]
[Name of Company] Issues Precautionary Recall for Potential Listeria Contamination
[TOWN IN ALL CAPS] - [Name of Company] of [town] is voluntarily recalling approximately [number] pounds of [general description of product] because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytongenes according to [name of spokesperson/owner of company], [title] of the company.
The products subject to recall are described below:
Products: [List all products by brand name being recalled]
Identified by: [lot number or product code/date stamped on package]
Manufacture date: [date]
Store locations and approximate date sold to consumers: [location and date]
Because of the potential of foodbome illness, [name of company] urges their customers who have purchased the suspect products not to eat them and return them to the company. Customers may bring those designated packages to [company and location] or call [name of customer contact with telephone number]. These products are cooked during processing and considered "ready-to-eat." Proper cooking and preparation of the food by the consumer can kill the bacteria and eliminate the potential for illness.
[How the problem was discovered and what products tested positive. Example: "The Ohio Department of Agriculture discovered the problem through its routine monitoring of the food supply for possible contamination. One sample of [company name] beef hot dogs was found to contain Listeria monocytongenes in tests conducted at the agency's Consumer Analytical Laboratory."]
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Police & fire emergency phone numbers
Local hospitals and clinics, emergency and non-emergency phone numbers
Area TV/Radio stations (directors' name/numbers)
Local newspapers (editors/phone numbers)
District/Circuit supervisors, central office staff, with phone numbers
List of authorized testing labs and phone numbers
List of key company contacts and phone numbers
Product or lot identification system