OMAHA, NE: ConAgra Foods is making sure that communications is top-of-mind as it continues its recall of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter manufactured at a Sylvester, GA, plant.
Nearly 300 people have been struck ill by salmonella, which federal officials have attributed to the peanut butter.
The AP reported that the voluntary recall will likely cost the company between $50 million and $60 million. That estimate includes both the cost of the peanut butter and the cost of getting it back and destroying the product.
"We've had ongoing communications from the moment the recall started," said Chris Kircher, ConAgra's VP of corporate affairs.
"There are very few recalls where you have to recall 100% of your product within the period of a few hours, and that's what this involved," Kircher added. "At the same time, [you have to] keep all of these audiences that might be affected by the recall up-to-date on what we know."
Kircher declined to reveal what firm the company is working with on its ongoing PR efforts, but did say ConAgra regularly works with a number of agencies and one of their regular firms is helping with the recall.
Several lawsuits have already been filed against the company, with cases of salmonella still being investigated in several states. Legalview.com, a free source of legal information, last week launched a peanut butter site as a resource to those concerned about salmonella.
Kircher said ConAgra is staying in touch with the Food & Drug Administration during its investigation and working to find out if additional measures may be necessary. Meanwhile, the Sylvester plant remains closed.
"We are committed to continuing to communicate with all of the audiences impacted by this situation, and we'll continue to maintain an open channel of dialogue," he said.
Other well-known ConAgra brands include Chef Boyardee and Healthy Choice.