TEXT OF STORY
SCOTT JAGOW: Health officials say they think lettuce caused an E. coli outbreak at a few Taco Bells. Amy Scott looks at Taco Bell’s damage control.
AMY SCOTT: Officials have linked Taco Bells in just four Eastern states to the outbreak, but judging from the jokes on late night TV, the company’s PR problem is national.
[ DAVID LETTERMAN: I believe his last words were, ‘Maybe I’ll have just one more chalupa.’ ]
Competitor Taco John’s is also feeling the heat, after customers in Iowa and Minnesota fell sick.
Crisis communications consultant Robbie Vorhaus recommends both chains be straight with their customers.
ROBBIE VORHAUS: Once somebody understands that what has happened to you is not your fault, that you’re doing everything you can to fix it, people are willing to forgive you.
Decades ago such a campaign helped Johnson & Johnson recover after several customers died taking cyanide-laced Tylenol.
But then it’s hard to be honest when you don’t have all the facts.
In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.
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