Pet Food Industry Spokesmen Discusses Recall PR Strategy

Duane Ekedahl (president of the Pet Food Institute) and the PFI’s PR firm was interviewed by PRWeek. Here are some highlights:

The other challenge is that when consumers become cynical, [so do] the media. Dealing with cynical reporters who are resistant to your messages and reject them because they want to hear another message [is difficult]. They want to hear that the industry is devastated.

[Regarding the media:]
There were specific articles that were troublesome and bloggers who were off the charts. But in total, I came away with a respect for the probing nature and overall honesty of the questions.

The media were very helpful in our getting the message out in terms of the nature and dimension of the problem and the fact that it’s being addressed. The questioning was impressively penetrating on technical subjects, but there were also erroneous reports that were misleading to consumers.

We have spoken with many news organizations and the characterization that they don’t want to hear positive news is patently untrue, nor did any media person express any desire to see the pet food industry devastated.

Were bloggers off the charts? I wonder why?

(Thanks mike)

72 Responses to “Pet Food Industry Spokesmen Discusses Recall PR Strategy”

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  1. martin says:


    Just read your post and you are so right about that.

    Friday at Midnight, after all because those cowardly jag-offs can’t bring themselves to come right out and admit their “errors” WHOOPS, sorry folks, we thought we’d see how many more pets we could finish off before the weekend. We really don’t wan’t to answer our phones and hear about it.

    You would think that the minute they had the slightest concern something was wrong with their food they would issue a recall ASAP!!!! No, they want to wait till the last minute and always LATE Friday. They want to bring in those last few dollars. They dont seem to give a Rats A** about who may be eating the food.

    Oh yeah, that Rat’s A** is probably in the food.

  2. Helen says:

    Nature’s Ratsnpee?

  3. martin says:

    I’m gonna be up all night thinking of the correct names for these foods.

    Puppy Chuck
    Royal Carcass
    Purina OM (Only Melamine)
    Mighty Dung
    Fancy Failure

  4. martin says:

    Nature’s Ratsnpee

    That’s the BEST!!!!!!!!

  5. Helen says:

    I’ll end with MeOuch Mix. See all you “hysterical” “off the charts bloggers” making mountains out of melahills tomorrow night for the ritual recalls.

  6. Kathy says:

    If we’re off the charts it’s about time someone was! They’re just not used to us “sheep” having the power to communicate like this—they better get used to it.

  7. Deb says:

    People are very brand loyal to pet food. In my ’studies’ I have food most people don’t really know the product name, they just know what the package looks like. I wonder if Mighty Dog was changed to Mighty Dung….how many people would notice.

  8. Kiki says:

    “Excuse me, Itchmo, but you mislead us. I was looking for the “highlights” you mentioned, and all saw were “lowlights”.”

    eerrr, you mean LOWLIFES…

  9. Kiki says:

    “But the bitch is back.”

    the bitch, the bitch, the bitch is back - stone cold sober (and pissed as hell) as a matter of fact…

  10. Kiki says:

    4% is the crude drop in pet food sales. I’m sure PFI massaged the numbers just right to get the best statistic for them. I would like to know what the drop is in common name-brand commercial pet foods and/or among the recalled name-brands - what is their drop? Small, ultra-premium brands without all the sh*t in it has been flying off the shelves is what I’ve been told. I’ll bet for this statistic, PFI even included the BARF diet to bring up the number even more.

  11. Kiki says:

    New, Improved Pet Foods with Chinese Proprietary Ingredients….sure to maximise profits for pet food companies and vets alike…sick.

    Purmela - Pro Plan
    Mela Diet
    Ol’ Mela

  12. Stephanie says:

    Two months later, we are still seeing recalls.

    This has gotten into our human food supply to a great extent.

    Over 5,000 types of foods recalled.

    Thousands of family members dead.

    The FDA is holding back information and slow to add recalls to their webpage.

    And bloggers are off the charts?

    The only reason anyone knows any of this information is because of the bloggers. If not, we would all be going on with our lives thinking that this mess is long over with. Buying up all the recalled food that sits on store shelves and killing our pets!

  13. 5CatMom says:

    The following from Itchmo’s link:

    Duane Ekedahl (president of the Pet Food Institute [PFI]):

    “A misidentification of the substance causing the problem compounded consumer confusion.”

    “Ekedahl: Reassuring the public in light of the numerous recalls that 99% of the products on the shelves were still safe.”

    “Gene Grabowski (SVP at Levick Strategic Communications, which represents the PFI):”

    “Then there was the rolling nature of the recall. [With] one recall after the other, it was a series of a dozen. That creates further confusion because you’re always looking for that moment where they can breathe a sigh of relief and say: “OK, we had a crisis, but now it’s finished. I can get on with my life.”

    “When the recalls keep occurring, it frustrates and confuses consumers. Trying to get your message out in an atmosphere where consumers grow more cynical and confused every day is very difficult.”


    Note to Duane and Gene,

    We are not confused. Neither are we frustrated.

    What we are is DETERMINED. We are determined to identify and use high quality and healthful foods. Some of the best are discussed on this blog, and BTW, they have NO association with the Pet Food Institute or with MENU FOODs.

    Duane, you have taught us that you and the companies you represent are not trustworthy.

    Duane, YOU’RE FIRED.

  14. e wem says:

    Bloggers are Off the Charts?

    I think they are mad because bloggers are

    Off the Leash

  15. Needles says:

    Off the charts??? I’ll tell this guy what off the charts means. Our cat George had a blood test on December 9, 2006. The test reference range for Creatinine is 0.6 - 2.4. George’s Creatinine was 1.6. In February he got sick after eating some of the (later) recalled food. On February 9, 2007 George’s Creatinine level was 17.6. His kidneys had shut down. We put him to sleep that night.

  16. Eileen says:

    “Off the charts”????? Okay….I suppose he means like when people were turning into crispy critters in Ford Vega’s, and Ford said people were crazy. Or maybe like a few years ago when consumers sounded a long (very long)and loud alert that something was amiss with their tires….nuts, of course, until the massive recall. Nah…let me think here…’s GOT to be when, weeks upon weeks ago… owners insisted “something” was wrong with dry food too….nut-burgers that they are! If his words aren’t the typical bull-dingy, poppy-crock, assinine usual garbage that companies and “officials” always spout when they want to dodge the REAL issues, I’ll sprout a third eyeball. Somebody,please…take away his milk and cracker money, stick him in a corner, and have him write on the board, “I will not blame anyone else ….I will NOT be like Paris Hilton!”. Here’s my intelligent answer to his whine….” RAAAZZZZZZzzzzzzzz!!!!”
    Eileen (another “bully”)

  17. JanC says:


    Note to Duane and Gene,

    We are not confused. Neither are we frustrated.

    What we are is DETERMINED. We are determined to identify and use high quality and healthful foods. Some of the best are discussed on this blog, and BTW, they have NO association with the Pet Food Institute or with MENU FOODs.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. You are so right…..we are determined & damn proud of it.

    And speaking of the losers at PFI, does anyone know how I can find which loser PF companies are part of this lying bunch? I would rather avoid anyone associated with this group of lying creeps. To think I could be supporting them makes me want to throw up.

    Did anyone else happen to notice that Evolve was made back in MARCH & they just now realize it was “cross contaminated”? Cross contaminated my ass……why don’t these morons speak up & tell the truth or, God forbid, RECALL their food when they first suspect it could be compromised. Excuse me, I’m no rocket scientist but I can tell you that people were feeding their cats your poison because they had no reason to believe it was tainted…..after all, didn’t Duane the Brain tell us the pet food is safe? Does that bother you jerks at all? And they wonder why we are off the charts. Because the PF companies have done a crappy job on these recalls, causing more pets to get very sick or die & we’re mad as hell. And we’ll show you how mad we are……just watch your profit margin, you jerks.

  18. Fivecatsandadog says:

    This pisses me off so much I don’t know what to say.

  19. 5CatMom says:

    Hi Jan C,

    One suggestion is to email the pet food companies, ask them if they have any association with Duane and the Pet Food Industry, do they provide funds to PFI, etc., and explain that you don’t want to support such an organization.

    Months ago, a group that I work with contacted PFI (also FDA, EPA, Homeland Security) via phone and email several times in an attempt to prevent the contaminated feed from entering the human food supply.

    It was obvious that these folks just don’t get it.

    PS Thanks so much to all who post here.

  20. 5CatMom says:

    Jan C,

    Forgot to add:

    “Duane the Brain” That’s too funny!!!!!!!!!!

  21. JanC says:


    Maybe that’s what I’ll do…..I just bought my first bag of Calif Natural because I like the company’s attitude……I’m also impressed by their list of ingredients & the fact that they had all their food tested by an independent lab. They obviously care which is more than I can say for other PF companies…..or Duane the Brain & his band of merry men. I’m home cooking but including a tad of dry……I feel more comfortable with Natura products because of all their testing. I just hope they don’t support PFI.

    I don’t know what I would do without Itchmo, Pet Connection (& all the other websites) & the wonderful people who post on these websites. I not only get my laughs for the day with their caustic humor but have learned so much from all of you. I can never thank you enough. And of course, it’s a great place to blow off some steam……

  22. Lynette says:

    ROFL at the letter to Mr. Ekendahl from the FBI!

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