King Nut is evidently done talking about peanut butter.
Following a comprehensive recall by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) of 21 lots of its peanut butter—including the King Nut product found by the Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture to contain a strain of Salmonella genetically identical to that found in over 425 sick people across the nation—King Nut deferred all further questions about the outbreak to PCA.
Clamming up is not good risk communication.
However, after a couple unfounded claims, it may be wiser that King Nut stop talking.
King Nut’s last statement to the press was a letter from President and CEO Martin Kanan refuting the suggestion that contaminated King Nut peanut butter could have caused people in 43 different states to become sick.
Kanan argued, in bold font,
“We only distribute in seven states and therefore King Nut peanut butter could not possibly be the source of a nationwide outbreak of salmonella. (King Nut peanut butter is distributed to food service companies in Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, Arizona, Idaho and New Hampshire.)”
Really? It couldn’t possibly? How do you know?
Do you track the consumption of all the peanut butter you distribute? Many states with sick people share borders with those seven states, don’t they? Maybe it’s not probable that all 425 people were sickened by King Nut peanut butter, but it’s still possible.
It’s a better idea to talk intelligently about those small possibilities than to make big claims that can’t really be proven.
Another silly claim I noticed was found upon closer inspection of the January 10 press release. There, I realized Kanan did say “sorry” once. But he also said,
“All other King Nut products are safe and not included in this voluntary recall.”
Really? They’re all safe? How do you know?
Do you have data? The pinky promise (i.e. certificate of safety) PCA gave you didn’t seem to hold up, so why should we believe you?
Talking about the possible risks—however minute—is the only way to gain the trust of an intelligent public. Pushing unfounded beliefs or assumptions onto society is just one effective way to create chaos.
Just ask the South Koreans.