PRWeek: What are some of the priorities for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)?
Bailey: When it comes to product safety, it has to be food safety. Our companies are very proud of the investments they've made in ensuring that consumers have access to safe products.
We all recognize, however, that this is a time to update and modernize the federal regulations and authorities, and the resources available at the FDA so it can be the watchdog that it must be to ensure that consumers are protected.
PRWeek: How has your public affairs background shaped the way the GMA communicates?
Bailey: For trade groups, effective communications are as important as they are for a political leader. We are very focused at the GMA on articulating – not only to our members, but also to consumers directly, to legislators, and to our coalition partners in Washington – our policy proposals and the steps we're taking on enhancing consumer safety.
PRWeek: What is the GMA's role in addressing the number of high-profile food-safety stories this year?
Bailey: I think that all Americans should be reassured that the industry and the FDA work together to figure out how best to communicate to the public in the case of a recall, for example. We were able to make recommendations on how to clarify communications and issued our own releases and statements.
We are now looking at the next steps we might take. The FDA, in the case of the peanut butter recall, used social media for the first time in its outreach. Similarly, we are looking more closely at what techniques we might use to enhance our communications on the recall issues.
PRWeek: What are the most effective platforms to get news out, whether it's to your members or the general public?
Bailey: We use traditional communications techniques. We are in the middle of a strategic planning process to be certain that we are as up to date as we can and should be in executing our mission and in reaching out to all of our audiences.
In addition, the integration of social media so that it can to do a better job with traditional media is something at which we are also taking a close look.