America is going healthy, which is why stores like Whole Foods Market are so popular these days. I shop there for most of my produce and dead animals (shout out to PETA), but some unfortunate news may cause loyal shoppers like me to reconsider those options for a while.
According to the Los Angeles Times, by way of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there has been a massive two-ton beef recall over fears of possible contamination with substances that could lead to bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
That’s “Mad Cow,” which equals two more words: Crisis communications.
Although no illnesses have been reported yet, when people hear “Mad Cow,” they get concerned and consider shopping at the dollar store. So, what was the news?
The affected meat, some sold in the form of bone-in rib-eye roasts, was processed at Fruitland American Meat in Jackson, Mo. It was shipped to the Whole Foods distribution center in Connecticut and ended up at 34 Whole Foods stores in the Northeastern area of the country. The meat was also distributed to a restaurant in New York City and a restaurant in Kansas City, Mo.
This always negatively impacts shoppers. This could even jack with brand loyalists. And this should keep reporters active for a few news cycles. So, where’s the response? Nothing — via release, on social media, online — nada, zelch, bupkus.
Of course, the USDA called this a “low-risk, class-two recall” to protect the brand, no doubt. However, if Whole Foods doesn’t respect the first law of crisis communications — get in front of it, first — there could be some low-risk, class-two restlessness.
UPDATE: Straight from the horse’s (or very healthy cow’s) mouth. And thank God for this…
@ShawnPaulWood We now have official documentation confirming the cattle in question destined for our stores were in fact NOT AT RISK FOR BSE
— Whole Foods Market (@WholeFoods) June 16, 2014