Social media is a doubled-edged sword for produce marketers, and sometimes the cuts draw blood.
Sure, Twitter and Facebook are great for linking to new products, recipes, contests and other feel good business friendly musings. Yet there is a decidedly painful side to social media as well, particularly when there is negative news.
This morning I saw a flood of tweets about the recall announcement by Ready Pac. When I searched for the term E. coli, I found many posts like this "just the facts" one:
RT @BreakingNews: Ready Pac recalls 5,379 cases of bagged salad products because of possible E. coli @Reuters
But others had a touch more emotion in them:
Ready-to-eat E. coli hits supermarket shelves (disguised as bagged salad): http://t.co/WqwLev5E #food #disease #salad #fb
Farmer's Market. Screw these companies!! RT Ready Pac recalls 5,379 cases of bagged salad products because of possible E. coli contamination
that's IT! there shouldn't be e.coli in SALAD!!! buy produce fresh & local from farmer's markets instead of bagged supermarket trash!
Salad bags, including ones from Trader Joes, have been recalled for e.coli. Guess what I brought to lunch today & have eaten all week -__-
TK: Most people probably assume that the packaged salad in question had already caused people to be sick. In fact, no illnesses related to the products have been reported. From the news release:
The voluntary recall was initiated based on a single positive random sample result for E.coli O157:H7 reported to Ready Pac by the FDA. Ready Pac is fully cooperating with the FDA on the recall.
Food recalls drive a lot of negative messaging about fresh produce today. In many ways, this is good. It gives the industry a chance to find unhappy consumers and respond. Is someone monitoring social media and responding to these tweets? It also makes me believe that the industry should do much more promotion and consumer advertising to tout the food safety efforts of the industry. And another thought: how much testing does FDA conduct on product from farmers markets? The halo effect that farmers' markets enjoy is almost comic in its expression by consumers.
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