What Happens During a Food Recall? - Cenza+

What Happens During a Food Recall?

News headlines make it clear that despite the best efforts of the world’s food manufacturers, they can’t always avoid having to recall an item. Large companies with a long history may have gone through a recall process previously.

Therefore, they're better prepared to deal with the current situation. But for other companies, issuing a recall notice may create waves of anxiety and bouts of confusion.

Have you ever wondered how you and your company would handle a recall? Your reaction will depend a great deal on how well you prepare.

Not sure how to prepare? Here are the basic but essential steps you’ll need to take in the event of a food recall.

Contact Regulatory Agencies

Once your company decides in favor of a recall, you should alert the appropriate government agency. The U.S regulatory agency overseeing most food recalls is the Food and Drug Administration. However, some recalls fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Bring your agency contact into the picture as soon as possible. The government will be able to offer you ongoing assistance to limit the likelihood of your making a misstep with any part of the recall process.

Communicate With Your Wholesalers and Retailers

Contact those in your distribution chain, clearly identifying the product. The more description you provide, the better, but a few specifics to mention include:

  • Name of the product
  • All code numbers
  • Lot number
  • Expiration date
  • Explanation for the product recall
  • Instruction on how to handle the product
  • Directions for how to return the product

Inform the Public

The degree of publicity you need to give a recall depends on the level of danger the item presents. You could do everything from issue a press release to post notice of the recall on your company's website.

The federal government has three classifications of product recalls. Class I means that contact with the product could create grave health problems and even cause death.

Class II indicates that the product could trigger health issues that are temporary and treatable. And Class III is for recalled items that don’t represent a small likelihood of health consequences.

Take Control of the Product

Isolate any of the product still on your premises. And keep accurate records of the success of your distribution chain’s efforts to track down and quarantine any recalled product it received.

Arrange for the return of the item and then correct the product’s problem. For example, a Class III item may only need a label correction.

But in the case of a Class I recall, this may mean destroying the item in a safe and approved manner. Speak with your regulatory agency representative before changing or destroying a product.

After you’ve corrected the problem, you can consider terminating the recall. But once again, you’ll need to discuss this decision with the FDA or USDA before proceeding.

Reduce Your Chances of a Food Recall

If you want to increase food safety, there’s no better tool than education. So, make sure that your staff receives the training needed to keep your facility in compliance with federal guidelines.

We offer food safety classes that will train and familiarize your employees with manufacturing and processing standards expected by the FDA. Contacting us today could help prevent a food recall tomorrow.

View All Recent Posts