Keywords: Maple Leaf Foods, Canada, Toronto, crisis communication, crisis management, emergency management, reputational management, audience–centred practices, best practices, food–related crises, listeriosis, product recalls, reputations, public responses, public confidence, chief executive officers, CEOs, public trust, product safety, organisational objectives, prioritisation, priorities, flexibility, Listeria, public health, deli meats, food industry, business continuity, risk management
The Maple Leaf Foods recall: best practice interaction during a food–related crisis
Crisis situations for organisations prompt public responses to manage the effects of the crisis and maintain public confidence in the organisation or the safety of its products. This study of the Maple Leaf Foods listeriosis crisis of 2008 and the recall of its products examined the company's responses made after the recall to determine if they reflected the presence of best practices. The findings suggested that the strategic utilisation of particular audience–centred best practices enabled the company chief executive officer to focus on re–establishing public trust in the safety of its products. Prioritising organisational objectives as early in the crisis as possible, demonstrating flexibility when determining which best practice to use, and communicating quickly, honestly, and empathetically with the public are offered as practical suggestions for communication scholars and organisations experiencing crises.