Despite their best efforts to maintain product safety, most food companies will come up against a safety or quality issue that may warrant taking action. The key is to be ready when this happens.
A thorough recall program isn't just a regulatory expectation. It's also crucial for maintaining consumer trust and safety. With the right program in place, you'll be ready to manage product issues quickly, smoothly, and thoroughly.
With our years of guiding companies through food recalls, both in-house and as external partners, we've got you covered. In this post, we'll cover best practices, common mistakes to avoid, and everything you need to know to navigate this process like a pro.
Here are the common mistakes that food companies make related to recalls:
Understanding these frequent missteps is the first step towards improving your company's recall procedures. Now let's look at some best practices for recall readiness.
To build a robust recall program for your operation, start with the ten key elements below:
First, don't panic. Remember, consumer safety is paramount—so start by identifying and understanding the problem. Then, promptly engage quality, safety, and regulatory experts to evaluate the health hazard and assess any potential health effects. This exercise is often called a “Health Hazard Evaluation” or HHE. The HHE is critical to inform your recall strategy, including the communication plan, recall scope, and how to involve regulatory agencies.
If a potential health hazard exists, then move onto the key steps of conducting a recall. To help guide your recall assessment and implementation, we've put together this step-by-step sample flowchart:
Learning from every recall exercise, including the inevitable challenges, will strengthen your recall program in the long run.
By following these best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you'll be able to effectively manage recalls, ensuring consumer safety and protecting your brand's reputation. In this fast-moving industry, being proactive and prepared is key.