Government urges manufacturers to update food recall plans

FSANZ has launched an updated Food Industry Recall Protocol: a Guide to Writing a Food Recall Plan and Conducting a Food Recall.

FSANZ Chief Executive Officer, Steve McCutcheon, said the national system for managing food recalls in Australia relies heavily on food businesses having appropriate plans in place to respond quickly and effectively to food safety and related issues.

Each year, there are between 50 and 60 food recalls in Australia in response to potential food safety issues. Food businesses themselves also initiate withdrawals of products for a range of reasons.

Mr McCutcheon urged all food businesses to get a copy of the updated protocol from the FSANZ website.

It is full of tips about how to conduct a recall or withdrawal and includes an updated attachment detailing what information should be included in press advertisements.

The website has a downloadable press advertisement template to help affected businesses.

FSANZ offers a 24 hour a day seven days a week recall emergency contact to help food businesses with after hours recalls.

The updated recall protocol also includes a new section to describe the roles and responsibilities of food retailers during a food recall a requirement that food businesses conducting the recall provide a list of the types of premises or stores likely to carry the food product, as well as the distribution lists to assist with the recall process.

Also included is a clearer explanation of what a voluntary recall means (that when the manufacturer conducts a voluntary recall, it is mandatory for industry customers to recall the product); clarification that government authorities require notification of all recalls — but not withdrawals; and elaboration of what the term ‘goods’ refers to in the Trades Practices Act.

FSANZ says it updated the protocol after extensive consultations with the food industry, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the state and territory jurisdictions and other stakeholders.

The protocol is available from the FSANZ website or in hard copy by emailing food.recalls@foodstandards.gov.au.

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