Pink Slime Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Two words started the current crisis in the beef industry. Pink slime. If Mark Bittman had stuck to the prim and proper phrase that is used in making hamburgers cheaper, “lean finely textured beef,” who would have known any better?
The general public eats a lot of stuff in their food that they don’t know about or care to know about. After all, it comes packaged neatly in a tray or bag or box. It does not come with pictures of animals being slaughtered, cut up and sent to the pink slime factory. What we don’t know can’t hurt us.
Speaking from a crisis management point of view, what saved the meat industry and restaurants serving a lot of beef was the quick action saying we won’t use this stuff any more or we never used this stuff. If the response had been glacial, the fallout would have been far worse.
Quick action is always better than a bunch of execs sitting around trying to decide the next move. This happens too often in crisis management because lawyers, bless their hearts, get involved. They stop us PR people from doing our job and responding quickly.
Moving slowly is often the case in recalls, too. The lettuce growers (we were involved in one of those recalls) usually have no idea at what stage the problem occurred. So a lot of time and sadly some deaths can occur during the slow pace to discovery.
Since there was no pink slime recall, this moved much more quickly to resolution. But I don’t hear any cows cheering.