Being forced to recall their food products due to safety or contamination concerns could severely impact a business. Not only can it lead to severe operational downtime, but the business may incur financial penalties as a result. Further, the organisation’s reputation may also be impacted, as potential customers become reluctant to purchase from the company. Therefore, it is important for any business that works with food to develop effective strategies for ensuring this does not happen. To help with this, Anitech recently hosted a free webinar on this topic, which was an engaging, interesting session for all who attended.
Develop food safety practices to protect your business
It was hosted by Sabina, our food safety specialist, and was titled Preventing Food Recalls, Protecting Your Business. It went for half an hour, and provided attendees with an overview into some of the common challenges food businesses may face, and provided effective strategies for successfully handling them.
To start with, Sabina described how the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is the food safety statutory authority, and outlines what situations may lead to food products being recalled. The issue was discussed in an accessible manner, with our host providing clear definitions of all relevant terms.
Food safety recalls were explained as “an action taken by a food business to remove unsafe food from distribution, sale, and consumption”, with Sabina discussing why food products may be recalled, and that “food businesses must be able to quickly remove food from the marketplace to protect public health and safety.”
To help participants better understand the issue, Sabina went into more detail about some of the main reasons for food recalls with Australia, which include:
- Incorrect labelling: this includes non-compliant labelling, the wrong food ingredients being listed, incorrect date markings, and so on.
- Foreign matter: Food products found to be contaminated with dangerous matter, such as glass, metal, or plastic must be recalled.
- Packaging issues: Faults found in the food packaging, such as loose parts being a potential choking hazard, could result in a food recall.
A case study approach was utilised
To help participants contextualise the matter, Sabina discussed several real examples of businesses that had to undergo food recalls for a number of reasons, including undeclared allergens, microbial contaminations, and packaging faults. She discussed how businesses had to recall food products due to drink bottles being likely to break, lids coming off milk bottles, and so on.
The food recall process was discussed
Sabina went into detail about the different stages of the food recall process. She explained how after identifying, notifying and assessing a food safety issue, a decision must be made about whether to recall food products, and then track the distribution of affected products. By clearly explaining each stage of the process, participants gained useful knowledge about food recalls, how it might affect their operations, and what they should be doing to protect their business.
One of the key insights of the webinar was that preparation is crucial when it comes to preventing food recalls. Our host discussed several actions that businesses could be taking to protect their operations, including:
- Preparing and developing a Recall plan: This plan should outline how the company will manage the recall process, and the roles and responsibilities within the business to achieving legal compliance.
- Periodically testing the plan: This step includes conducting mock recalls, to assess effectiveness and the potential impact to operations.
- Increasing staff awareness: Organisations should be training their staff to ensure they have their required skills and knowledge to carry out a food recall.
Our specialist consultants are here to help anyone who missed the webinar
It was an engaging session for the wider business community, who had the opportunity to learn about the issue, and have their questions answers. However, we understand that other people may have wanted to attend but were unable to due to prior commitments.
For anyone wanting to learn more about this issue, and what they can be doing to protect their operations, feel free to contact our food safety specialists today by filling out this online contact us form, or by phone on 1300 802 163, for a short, obligation-free consultation.
All you need to do is provide them with a brief overview of your business, including information about its specific work type, operational set up, location, and so on, and they can then explain what your company could and should be doing to prevent food recalls, and protect the operations. They will be able to answer all your questions, and provide useful insight into this issue. Doesn’t that sound like something worth putting on your menu?
Please click here to learn about how food safety certification can help prevent food recalls.