Three Considerations When Asked: “Is Our Company ‘Recall Ready’?”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently finalized guidance surrounding voluntary food recalls, providing steps that companies should take to “quickly and effectively remove volatile products from the market.”
|When a potentially harmful product makes its way to the shelves, it’s the company’s responsibility to take swift action to ensure consumer safety – the company may act on its own initiative if it becomes aware of the volatile product, or the FDA may inform a company it is unknowingly distributing that product and recommend its immediate removal.||
In either circumstance, companies must be “recall ready,” taking the steps to proactively prepare for food recalls and respond quickly to protect public health and supply chain integrity. In recent years, the food industry has seen stricter regulations for food product quality and safety – in addition to supply chain transparency – however, this most recent guidance emphasizes the need for swift, immediate action when it comes to food product recalls.
In its final guidance, Initiation of Voluntary Recalls Under 21 CFR Part 7, Subpart C, the FDA provides recommendations that companies should consider to better prepare and plan for food recalls, such as establishing a recall communication plan and developing policies and procedures for notifying distribution chains. It also outlines the need for adequate product coding and proper record-keeping to reduce the amount of time a recalled product remains on the market. And, for companies without current processes in place, the FDA provides recommendations for how to identify when or if a recall is necessary and the specific steps to take to notify affected direct accounts.
Below we’ve outlined three significant considerations from this most recent FDA guidance:
- Preparing your team
Food product recalls are inevitable. When it’s time to take action to remove a product from the shelves, does your team know what to do?
Companies should identify and assign personnel to specific recall-related tasks or responsibilities. These people will possess the knowledge and authority to act quickly and confidently amid a product recall. Companies must also train these team members who have been assigned a specific job duty as well as update them on any changes to protocols or procedures so that they understand the steps they need to take to implement a food recall. Additionally, businesses should take time to establish a recall communication plan. This plan needs to outline guidelines for communicating internally and externally and expectations for notifying direct accounts, the FDA, and the public, when necessary.
A trained and ready team equipped with an established communication plan will ensure your company is prepared to take immediate action when faced with a voluntary food recall.
- Utilizing product coding and maintaining distribution records
When a product is recalled, companies need to be able to quickly identify where the affected product is within the supply chain and be able to communicate with necessary stakeholders to take appropriate action. Using adequate product coding and maintaining distribution records can facilitate faster, more accurate recalls, as companies can pinpoint the exact location of affected products, from a vendor in the supply chain directly to the store shelf.
Once an affected product is identified, that information can then be quickly disseminated to the affected direct accounts – and since your team is trained and ready with a set recall plan, they’ll know exactly how and when to communicate this information.
- Developing a recall strategy
Establishing processes and procedures for initiating a food recall can be time and resource-intensive; however, preparing, maintaining, and documenting those processes and procedures enables your company to act quickly – and responsibly – to initiate a food recall.
When considering what to include in your recall strategy, think about what a recall can do to the entire supply chain – from downstream suppliers to vendors, to consumers. With a strategy in place, your company will be able to quickly inform your entire distribution chain about the product being recalled and ensure that proper subsequent steps are taken to reach a resolution. Considering that the average food recall totals $2-10 million in direct costs, your recall management strategy is inexplicably related to your business’ ROI. Proper planning and preparation will result in swift, smart decision-making, ultimately saving you time, money, and headache.
Navigating Recall Ready Status with a Recall Management Solution
How you respond to product recalls and withdrawals can make or break your brand reputation – and your business. Suppose your company needs assistance to achieve “recall ready” status. In that case, it’s worth investing in a recall management solution that can ensure swift, precise resolutions to meet the food industry’s recall regulations.
A robust food recall management system should provide your company with:
- Seamless, end-to-end communication, to instantaneously communicate product recalls to contacts and locations across your supply chain.
- Standardized recall notifications, to ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy in a recall or stock withdrawal.
- Automated escalation actions, to immediately follow up if no action is taken by a particular location or contact when within a customized timeframe.
- Real-time recall data, to monitor acknowledgment, response, and resolution across all of your locations.
- Targeted actions, to execute the necessary steps to launch a removal, hold, or withdrawal on specific products or impacted locations.
- Mock recall and withdrawal capabilities, to make sure you’re trained and prepared to take action.
FoodLogiQ’s Recall + Response solution empowers enterprise food brands to efficiently and effectively manage recalls, product removals, and withdrawals across the supply chain. Recall + Response also offers the ability to test recall effectiveness with unlimited mock recalls and features a centralized dashboard that enables organizations to track recall response and completion in real-time.
With Recall + Response, your company can:
- Reduce the time spent gathering and accessing critical data needed to execute a product removal by 70%.
- Reduce the time it takes for locations to acknowledge and resolve a recall or market withdrawal by 50%.
- Continuously improve toward 100% completion of removals and withdrawals within two hours.
- Be 100% sure you are recall ready.