Finding out the exact nature and magnitude of the situation.
Acting immediately to address disposition of affected product.
Taking action to prevent future occurrences.
At each step J&J had public relations professionals sending clear and honest messages to affected parties and the general public. The company acted quickly and supported their customers first. By their actions, J&J was seen as another victim by the public. Throughout the critical period, J&J put public health above all other considerations. It converted a brand equity threat into and isolated event that did not shake public confidence in its products.
"Let's set up an industry-wide crisis fund to help the pets and people affected by contaminated petfoodsno questions asked," said Brian Connolly, cofounder of Castor & Pollux Pet Works, on April 18 at Petfood Forum 2007. The audience of several hundred people gave him a strong round of applause. Other ideas from speakers at Petfood Forum 2007 included:
Ladd Hardy, senior VP marketing at Nutro Products, noted that, "Since it is impossible to test for every possible contaminant, we do feeding trials on every batch of dry petfood we make. That batch is held until it passes the feeding trial." Due to the recalls, Nutro is starting the same procedure for its wet petfoods.
Dr. Doug Powell, the scientific director of the International Food Safety Network, stated, "You better know your suppliersand this goes way beyond HACCP. You need to have your people on the ground watching to see that suppliers are doing what they say they are doing."
Matt Frederking, manager of regulatory compliance for Southern States Cooperative, observed, "Paper work is not enough to ensure petfood safety. Anybody can make paper look as good as they want paper to look."