The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) requires manufacturers, wholesalers and importers of food to have a system in place to manage the recall of unsafe food.
When a food safety issue is identified, food businesses must be able to quickly remove unsafe food from the marketplace to protect the health and safety of consumers.
Writing a plan
A food recall plan is the written document a food business produces detailing their recall system. It enables a food business to recall unsafe food from the marketplace and consumers, effectively and efficiently in order to protect public health and safety. The key elements of a food recall plan include:
internal procedures and staff responsibilities for conducting a recall
contact details and procedures for notification
distribution and other records that will help identify and retrieve the recalled food
arrangements and procedures for food retrieval and assessing the recalled product returns.
In South Australia, SA Health's Food and Controlled Drugs Branch officers work with food businesses to coordinate food recalls within the State. Food recalls are also coordinated nationally Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
Initiating and conducting a food recall
The majority of food recalls are voluntarily initiated by businesses when food production monitoring has identified a fault or in response to public complaints. SA Health may also initiate food recalls following the investigation of reported food poisoning incidents or complaints about the safety of food. Should a concern be serious enough to warrant the recall of a food, SA Health will work with the manufacturer to ensure the recall is effectively conducted and will coordinate the recall with other state and local authorities to prevent the food being distributed and sold.
If a food business becomes aware of unsafe food in distribution or retail outlets it may be necessary to conduct a food recall. Further information on this is available on the FSANZ website.
Food businesses need contact the below agencies as soon as recall action has been decided upon.
The FSANZ Recall Coordinator will ask you a series of questions regarding the product, reason for recall and distribution that will form the basis of an initial recall report.
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