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Public Relations Firms with Crisis Management Capabilities


Charleston|Orwig is a $47-million, 47-person communications agency founded in 1992. The agency collaborates with their clients’ senior management and key staff to advance their business goals by elevating corporate reputations and defending companies when they face activist, government and media pressures. Charleston|Orwig has been used by such clients as Smithfield Foods, Miller Brewing Company, Pfizer Inc, Bayer Environmental Science, International Dairy Queen, Applebee’s International, PPL Corporation, United Food Group, Alpharma and many others.

Lyle Orwig, 262-352-2426, or Amy Richards, 262-352-2446,


Dezenhall is "dedicated exclusively to managing crises and high-stakes communications issues." The agency is relatively small with 30 professionals, many of whom joined the agency from larger firms in town. The agency's client list is confidential.

Contact: Eric Dezenhall, 202/296-0263


Founded in 1952, Edelman is the largest private, independent public relations agency in the world with 40 offices around the globe. Edelman's Crisis and Issues Management practice helps companies anticipate, prepare for and manage a wide range of complex situations, including product recalls, accidental and malicious food contamination, labor relations, environmental issues, poor financial/corporate performance and high-profile litigation. The agency's team of PR crisis management and communications experts -- which includes lawyers, political strategists and former journalists -- has provided counsel to dozens of processed food and meat companies as well as several industry associations.

Contact: Bill Keegan, 312-240-2624 in Chicago or Frank Kauffmann, 202-326-1731 and Charles Bakaly, 202-371-0200 in Washington, DC


Ketchum is a global PR firm which represents a significant number of food and agriculture clients and has a deep understanding of the meat industry along with foodservice and retail distribution. Ketchum is the issues/reputation agency for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as well as several dairy clients. The firm has counseled QSR companies, food manufacturers and meat processors on communicating quality and safety issues and has helped its clients through complicated FDA and USDA actions. Ketchum is also the agency of record for the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).

Contact: Bill Zucker, 312/228-6893, or Kim Essex, 312-228-6820,

Levick Strategic Communications

Levick Strategic Communications is one of the world’s most experienced communications firm for managing food crises, with a team of senior professionals who have handled more than 150 food, beverage and drug recalls over the past decade. Levick has earned PR Week’s Crisis Firm of the Year and Crisis Manager of the Year awards for its work on driving communications for events including the North American pet food recall, the U.S. spinach recall, the global lead-paint-in-toys recall and numerous national and global outbreaks of Salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter in meat, produce and packaged foods. Clients include Perdue Farms, Smithfield Foods, Grocery Manufacturers of America, Kraft Foods, Bob Evans Family Restaurants, Danielle Foods, Leprino Foods, Wyeth, Bayer, Merck, Bausch + Lomb and Schering Plough. Levick specializes in food crisis matters with law firms and in-house legal counsel, having worked alongside the country’s most accomplished food lawyers on matters of critical importance to food manufacturers and having several attorneys on its team to work on litigation communications.


Contact: Gene Grabowski, 202-270-6560.

 Weber Shandwick

 Weber Shandwick is a leading, full-service global public relations firm with offices in more than 80 countries around the world. The firm’s Crisis Communications/Corporate Issues Management Practice helps clients anticipate, prepare and manage issues and negative events affecting reputation. The team’s crisis experts have been involved in preparing for and responding to some of the most visible political and corporate crises. In particular, Weber Shandwick has a great depth of experience working with food companies of all sizes on a broad spectrum of issues, including product recalls.

 Contact: Julie Ketay, 312.988.2294 (office), 312.307.7870 (mobile)