Preparing for a Product Recall

If you ever have to do a food product recall it can mean the difference of staying in business or quickly losing everything. Should you ever be unfortunate to go through a recall, there are a few things that you can do to lessen the overall impact on your food business and your customers.

Welcome to the HACCP Mentor series on Food Safety HACCP Compliance 101: How do I comply with that?  In this session, find out how to be prepared for a food product recall.  As part of your preparation, check the following requirements to see how well you comply.

1. Recall procedures

Ensure that your product recall plan and procedures are up-to-date. This includes who is on the team, internal and external contact lists, roles and responsibilities, and procedures for investigation, traceability, product retrieval & disposal, customer & media management.  If you find your procedures are lacking or you are looking for a template, please click here.

2. Product traceability

All of your product should be traceable to both the end user or customer and also back to your raw material supplier. Check out this article that I previously wrote on food traceability.

3. Product Recall Training

When staff know what their roles and responsibilities are, the recall process will run a lot smoother. Take the time to train your team in the basics of product recall, what they are required to do and how the process will run.

4. Access to product recall information

Can you easily access records required for your product recall? Time really is of the essence in this process so any preventable delays should be avoided.  Make sure that you can easily access and read all production records and associated product recall information.

5. Test the system

In the words of William Shakespeare “All things are ready, if our mind be so”.  Testing your recall system is an integral part of being prepared.  It really doesn’t matter what scenario you choose, the aim is to test the effectiveness of all relevant product recall procedures and traceability.

Mapping to Key Standards

Although the following list is not exhaustive, it provides guidance on the requirement for product recall in common customer standards and legislation.

  • SQF (Edition 7.2) – Clause 2.6.3 Product Withdrawal and Recall
  • BRC (Issue 7) – Clause 3.11 Management of incidents, product withdrawal and product recall
  • Codex – General Principles of Food Hygiene – 5.8 Recall Procedures
  • WQA (Issue 8 Manufacturing) –  17.2 Product Withdrawal / Recall Procedure
  • USFDA – 21 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 7.40 – Recall Policy
  • FSANZ – Food Standards Code, 3.2.2, Clause 12
  • PrimusGFS (V2.1-2) – 1.7 Traceability and Recall
  • ISO 22000 (2005) – 5.7 Emergency preparedness and response

Share your knowledge

Please feel free to share links to the product recall requirements in your country of manufacture by leaving a comment below.

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