What does a company facing a serious crisis do in the absence of social media and other, more immediate tools?
It agrees to recall all products, issues a press release with the help of the FDA, and then records a video response. As mentioned today by CNN and various other outlets, Blue Bell Creameries of Brenham, Texas decided to institute a full recall after eight people fell ill with listeria that may have come from its products.
CEO Paul Kruse just released a video statement:
Prior to the statement, the FDA distributed the company’s press release:
Blue Bell Creameries Voluntarily Expands Recall to Include ALL of its Products Due to Possible Health Risk http://t.co/fZKtQj747N
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) April 21, 2015
From the release:
Today’s decision was the result of findings from an enhanced sampling program initiated by Blue Bell which revealed that Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons produced on March 17, 2015, and March 27, 2015, contained the bacteria. This means Blue Bell has now had several positive tests for Listeria in different places and plants and as previously reported five patients were treated in Kansas and three in Texas after testing positive for Listeria monocytogenes.
Missing from that paragraph is the fact that of the three victims have now died.
Since Blue Bell has no real digital presence, this story may serve as a case study in how a certain class of organization responds to crises. So far, BBC has relied on traditional media including the release and the above video, distributed this morning by Reuters and The New York Times.
However the company proceeds, the story is an unfortunate tragedy.