Sick chicken or consumer education program: which should come first?

Yum Brands is drawing upon the experience of its brand partners in China to prepare a consumer education plan about avian flu, Ad Age tells us.

Some industry reps believe consumers may be aware of the problems overseas, but that knowledge does not translate into perceptions at home. Richard Lobb, communications director of the National Chicken Council, told Ad Age:

    �American consumers are not usually inclined to panic. They know the chicken they eat is not a hazard. It�s pretty premature to put up posters saying your chicken is safe.�

Especially when your industry is following the same line, in response to union and activist demands for worker education and enhanced equipment:

    "You don't want to tell people so they come to work every day afraid," said Bob Ford, head of the N.C. Poultry Federation. (Charlotte Observer)

    "It's kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of thing," [Ken Wilson, compliance director at Case Farms] said. "If you don't do enough and something happens, you're criticized. But if you bring it to people's attention and nothing happens then you're reactionary."

Actually, if you bring it to people's attention, you're being cautious, Ken. Only telling your staff AFTER an outbreak would be reactionary.

Someone get this man some risk communications training, STAT!