Recalls are a common occurrence, whether due to the undeclared presence of allergens or through the discovery of tainted ingredients. They can be a disruptive, costly process and they can also lead to bad publicity for food manufacturers, even if a third party is to blame for contamination.
RQA stresses that the “most successful and cost effective recall is the one that is prevented”, but in the event that a manufacturer does need to recall products, the consultancy said that its toolkit will enable even small companies with limited resources to develop an effective recall plan.
Managing director of RQA Europe Vince Shiers told FoodNavigator.com: “What we find is that smaller and medium-size companies can really struggle. They are often told by their insurance provider that they need a recall plan, but they may not have the experience…Managing a product recall is a very different day job than making food, and they can find it difficult to deal with.”
RQA said that a plan developed using its toolkit would conform to the highest industry standards, including the requirements of the International Food Standard (IFS) and the British Retail Consortium. Shiers added that the online tool is a middle ground between the kind of recall plan a company could buy off the internet and put its name to, which he described as “useless”, and having a specialist consultant meet with the company to develop a personalised plan, which many smaller businesses may be unable to afford.
He said that RQA’s toolkit has been designed to guide manufacturers step by step through the recall process, with 50 to 60 percent of the plan already mapped out, and requiring the manufacturer to fill in the rest.
Shiers added: "Recalls are an unfortunate fact of life for many manufacturers. The only way to limit the damage of a recall is to be prepared, and for everyone involved to know exactly what is expected of them, and what to do should a recall be deemed necessary.”
The toolkit is available online at www.crisisplantoolkit.com or via RQA's website at