Eat your spinach . . . PLEASE

A bag of spinach sits on a shelf at a market in Niles, Ill.

TEXT OF STORY

BOB MOON: The E.coli outbreak has dealt a painful blow to the $300 million fresh spinach industry. Now, a trade group representing the fruit and vegetable industry is starting to think about damage control. Rachel Dornhelm reports.


RACHEL DORNHELM: Reports say the United Fresh Produce Association is considering an extensive ad campaign.

Executive VP Jerry Welcome says it's an unusual step for the public policy group. But . . .

JERRY WELCOME: Collectively through a trade association it's easier to bring all the members together and come up with a strategy and the financial wherewithal to bring a campaign forward.

Food marketing professor Aaron Johnson says it's good the association wants to step in.

The spinach problems unfolded differently than past food safety issues at companies like Jack in the Box and Odwalla.

AARON JOHNSON: It really is going to be more difficult for a general industry like this, especially when you have a good portion of the product unbranded and consumers are looking at spinach, not at Brand X.

He says the key marketing strategy should be taking ownership of the problem. And convincing consumers it has been solved.

I'm Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.

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