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How dumplings became garbage The Korea Food and Drug Administration’s handling of a food scare. January 14, 2005 Submitted to the Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition. Introduction.

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how dumplings became garbage the korea food and drug administration s handling of a food scare

How dumplings became garbageThe Korea Food and Drug Administration’s handling of a food scare

January 14, 2005

Submitted to the Arthur W. Page Society

Case Study Competition

introduction
Introduction
  • In early June 2004, the police reported that some food firms supplied dumpling filling made of trashed pickled radish remnants.
  • The issue was picked up by the media as a “garbage dumpling” scandal.
  • The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA), a governmental agency responsible for food and drug safety, was involved in the case.
  • KFDA lost the public trust as it continually mishandled related communications.
what are garbage dumplings
What are garbage dumplings?

Radish

Pickling

Trimming pickled radish in a standard size

Final Pickled Radish product

Dumpling Filling

Remnant

Dumplings

Dumpling Filling

If not used for dumpling filling, trashed

Garbage Dumplings?

what went wrong
What went wrong?
  • KFDA’s Communication Perspective
    • Disclosing information
      • Should have released confirmed information only.
      • Use of passive communication techniques encouraged the media to turn to less knowledgeable sources, resulting in wide circulation of inaccurate information.
what went wrong5
What went wrong?
  • KFDA’s Communication Perspective
    • Did not show contrition for mistakes or take full responsibility for its inappropriate actions
      • Stonewalling, whitewashing, blame shifting
      • Inconsistent communications
    • Failed to disclose critical information
why did it go wrong
Why did it go wrong?
  • Management perspectives
    • Ignored signals of an impending crisis
      • Ignored reports from regional offices
      • Ignored police request for cooperation
    • Relied on information provided by the police and media, rather than its own judgment and investigation
why did it go wrong7
Why did it go wrong?
  • Communication Perspectives
    • Communication breakdown with other governmental agencies
    • Internal communication breakdown
      • The position of KFDA on the issue had not been shared among the staffs
      • Critical information was not available readily or communicated effectively
why did it go wrong8
Why did it go wrong?
  • Public relations public information model rather than two-way symmetrical communication
  • Organizational factors
    • Layers of approvals: hurdle for swift action
    • Lack of dominant coalition
    • Too few PIO employees
    • Job rotation system does not value the need for specialization in communication
why did it go wrong9
Why did it go wrong?
  • Lack of understanding of media practices
    • The need for public relations professionals to understand journalistic practices
      • Use of sensational words
    • Media should be treated as a public: If you do not provide information, you have no control over what will be reported
    • Blaming media does not work toward building relationships
ripple effects

Dumpling

Industry

Decrease in sales

Unemployment

Went into default

Lost consumers

trust

Frozen Food Industry

National Economy

International Relations

National Image Impair

Ripple Effects

Media

Issue Amplification

Commun-

ication

Excellence

KFDA

Lost of

Public

Trust

Police

lessons learned
Lessons learned
  • Empowerment of public relations affect communication excellence
  • Be a responsible and dependable information source.
  • Learn about the media and understand journalistic practices
  • In the public sector, building efficient communication with other organizations is critical
  • Be responsible with actions and communication
  • Trust is the most valuable asset in the entire public relation process