Food businesses are legally required to ensure the food they sell is safe to eat.
Sometimes things go wrong and when they do, your business must be able to quickly remove unsafe food from the marketplace.
This is known as a food recall, and if your business needs to recall an unsafe food product, the FSANZ food recall team can help you. FSANZ will guide you through the steps that need to be undertaken during a food recall.
A food recall is action taken by a business to remove unsafe food from distribution, sale and from consumers.
If your business wholesales, manufactures or imports food, you’ll need a food recall plan. This plan should detail how your business will conduct a food recall such as staff responsibilities during a recall and the procedures that need to be followed.
To help you, FSANZ has developed a Food Industry Recall Protocol. You can find it on the FSANZ website.
If you have a food safety issue with a food that your business has produced or imported, contact the health department or food authority in the state or territory that your head office is located in. The contact details are on the FSANZ website. Once your business and your home state health department or food authority have discussed that the food should be recalled, you need to contact FSANZ, who will inform you of your legal obligations and step you through each process of the recall.
We can also provide guidance on how best to communicate information about the recall to the public.
When you contact FSANZ, you should have ready:
the reason you are recalling (it must be for health and safety reasons)
detailed information about the product
an image of the food in its packaging
and a list of the stores where the product has been on sale to the public.
You are required to keep records showing the names and addresses of your suppliers and the customers you sell your food to, to enable the recalled food to be traced.
Retail businesses like restaurants, cafes and takeaways, generally don’t recall their food because the food they sell is likely to have already been eaten before it can be recalled.
It is also important to know that food may be removed from the supply chain for reasons other than a health and safety risk – this is called a withdrawal. Food may be withdrawn from sale if it has a quality defect, such as colour or texture, or if it is underweight, for example.
If you are unsure what to do or need some advice, visit the recall area of the FSANZ website or phone the recall team on 02 6271 2610.