Meat Industry PR Scramble To Respond to Mad Cow

"Meat-industry trade groups were scurrying during the recent holiday season to coordinate key messages and media lists as they responded to reports of mad cow disease rearing its head in the Western US," PR Week's John Frank writes. PR staffers at the American Meat Institute and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, working with PR giant Burson-Marsteller, handled a flood of media calls over the Christmas holiday. AMI's top spokeswoman Janet Riley invited NBC News into her kitchen on Christmas day to tape "her preparing beef for dinner in an effort to demonstrate her faith in the safety of the beef supply," PR Week reports.
The US Department of Agriculture held daily press briefings, which were followed by "technical briefings" for the press held by NBCA. "Key message points the industry was stressing revolved around the safety of the US beef supply and the extent of efforts underway to track down how the disease reached US shores," PR Week reports.