It’s a manufacturers worst nightmare – the realisation that food products may have left the factory that does not meet the usual quality or standard required.
FBOs are responsible for the safety of the food which they produce, distribute, store or sell, in particular FBOs must:
- not place unsafe food on the market
- comply with food law in the production, distribution, storage and sale of food
- be able to trace the suppliers of their food and the business customers to whom they have supplied the food (i.e. one step back and one step forward) and
- remove unsafe food from the market should a food safety incident arise 5 FBOs should therefore have adequate traceability and food withdrawal/recall systems in place as part of their Food Safety Management System to fulfil these requirements.
FBOs may wish to seek advice from the enforcement authority with whom they are registered or approved, and/or their Primary/Home authority for assurance that any system developed for this purpose is appropriate and compliant.
If a problem occurs then the product may be ‘withdrawn’ – taken off the shelves so no more can be sold or ‘recalled’ – where the customer is asked to return the product.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA ) issues Product Withdrawal Information Notices and Product Recall Information Notices to let consumers and local authorities know about problems associated on their website. https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts
Here are some recent examples:
The FSA have issued guidance that sets out the requirements in relation to food safety incidents, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002.
The guidance clearly sets out what to do if you are:
- the FBO initiating the withdrawal/recall
- non retail