Grace Haskin: PR Strategies
Sept. 24, 2014. Case Brief #1: Case #11
Would you like your taco with or without pesticide today?
Genetically modified foods are controversial due to the possible risks they can have on human health. In 2000, a laboratory test done by Friends of the Earth discovered certain taco shells being sold by Kraft Foods had traces of StarLink, a genetically modified corn that was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human consumption.
StarLink is created with an extra gene that makes the corn grow a protein called Cry9C, which kills pests without added insecticides, making it cheaper to produce. The protein was linked to allergens that can cause anything from a skin rash to anaphylactic shock and death. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved StarLink for use in livestock feed and ethanol fuel, but did not confirm if the corn was allergenic.
On Sept. 18, 2000, Friends of the Earth asked Kraft to recall the questionable taco shells immediately and the Union of Concerned Scientists requested the FDA and EPA to do an investigation. Advocates of genetically modified foods, however, were not convinced the test done by Friends of the Earth was accurate.
Public Relations Issues
Kraft Foods is selling taco shells made with a type of genetically modified corn that has not been approved for human consumption. This could lead to FDA fines, permanent harm to their reputation and loss of customers.
Well known, trusted brand.
Unaware of how StarLink made it into their taco shells.
Impact the future of genetically modified foods.
Show that they care for their customers by effectively handling the issue.
Harm their reputation / Lose customer's trust.
Could be fined by the FDA.
Tactics and Analysis