Tips to Effectively Manage Product Recall in Food Industry

Product recalls can very easily send ripples of terror through any organisation, implicating serious financial, safety, and legal issues. By handling a product recall in the right way, a business can earn accolades for its effective and decisive action. Depending on the nature of products manufactured, managing a product recall may differ significantly across organisations. In order to manage product recall in food industry, a strategic approach involving several steps in required. 

What is a Product Recall? 

A product recall may be referred to as a request to return an entire production run or a batch of a product to the maker, usually over design defects, safety related concerns, or labelling errors.  In general, products are recalled by the manufacturer when there are safety concerns that may affect large number of customers. More of preventive in nature, recalls are also important for avoiding expensive litigations, and goodwill as well as financial losses. 

Problems leading to a recall may be identified by the consumers, manufacturers, suppliers, or health authorities. When any such flaw is identified, the onus remains with the company to initiate appropriate measures after determining the extent of the problem.    

Food Recall Process:

Effective product recall in food industry involves a number of steps as mentioned below. 

Identification and assessment of the problem: At the very beginning, the person or team responsible for this procedure must be notified about the potential food safety issue. The potential issue should be evaluated by 

  • Identifying the chemical, physical, or microbiological hazards associated with the food product.
  • Finding out whether there is any food safety risk
  • Deciding on the required action to manage the risk
  • Seeking expert advice from the appropriate enforcement agency.
  • Deciding whether it is necessary to place the product on hold and/or stop production.   

Affected product identification: In the next step, the organisation must identify the location of the affected products. 

Notifying consumers, business stakeholders, and health authorities: If a recall is required, the business should immediately notify the health authorities, as well as the wholesalers, distributors, exporters, and retailers. Records of these notifications should also be maintained. 

Retrieval and disposal: All stakeholders including wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and others should be advised to 

  • Segregate the product from other food items.  
  • Return the product for disposal. 
  • Dispose the product themselves. 

The organisation must maintain a record of the stock retrieved and/or disposed by different stakeholders. 

Monitoring effectiveness: Each stage of the recall must be closely monitored to 

  • Ensure that the product is no longer being distributed or sold
  • Ensure that the product has been returned by the company to the designated places 
  • Understand the public reaction to the recall

Recall closure: The recall process can be terminated once adequate steps to an effective recall have been taken and there is minimal risk to the public. 

Review and control: Finally, the overall effectiveness of the recall should be reviewed and corrective actions should be implemented to prevent similar issues in the future.   

At Lumix Procut, we provide a wide range of service solutions designed specifically for food processing industry. Please contact our experts to find out more about managing a product recall.