How Could the National Pork Board Have Better Responded?

If you listen to Minnesota Public Radio, perhaps you’ve caught the promotional spot from the National Pork Board declaring “cooked pork is safe” from the recent flu outbreak.

I already assumed cooked pork was safe. Now, an organization financed by pork producers is telling me it’s safe – the conflict of interest and dismissive tone makes me doubt it is safe.

I understand the NPB’s desire to say something. Unfortunately, this current spot shows they’re clearly (and unnecessarily) playing defense1

What could the NPB say that wouldn’t set off my pigshit detector?

  1. Acknowledge it as a general health issue.
    “National Pork Board reminds you help prevent the spread of viruses like the H1N1 flu by covering your mouth when coughing and throughly washing your hands.”
  2. Embrace it as an issue and be transparent about your direct actions.
    “National Pork Board invites you to visit pork.org for a live updated map as we check our all member farms for signs of the H1N1 virus.”
  3. Nothing.
    This doesn’t impact how people normally interact with their products, why should they comment? Kudos to the comment-free representatives of Tyson Foods & Hormel Foods cited in this AP article.

Any one of these 3 approaches feels better to me.

Are you in PR? I’d love your thoughts on this issue.


1. And that they may not know their target audience. According to this AP article – the $5b/yr of US raised pork is exported – with countries banning the import of pork. I’m neither banning it’s importation nor contributing to that $5b/yr.