Management of product recalls in a supply chain
Faster recalls and improved consumer safety should be part of any organisation’s traceability capability and product recall management plan.
Retailers, manufacturers and consumers are growing increasingly concerned about the number of products being recalled or withdrawn.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), there were 593 products (excluding therapeutic goods) recalled in Australia in 2017, 66 of those from the food and grocery sector alone.
As supply chains continue to span the globe, these product recall events have shown that delivery of timely and accurate information to trading partners and regulatory agencies is paramount in the protection and safety of the consumer, the company and the brand.
The way to total recall
In recognition of the need to build consumer safety into the supply chain, the GS1 Australia Recall service was developed in collaboration with Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), the ACCC, national retailers and a number of Australian and international food and grocery manufacturers.
Launched in partnership with the AFGC in August 2011 for the food and beverage industry, Recall has assisted over 300 Australian food and beverage companies with the development and implementation of their product recall and withdrawal management process. In 2013, a healthcare sector portal was launched, followed by one for the general merchandise and apparel industries in 2014. Total Recall service subscriptions now approach 700, demonstrating a growing Recall community.
The Recall service is a web-based portal that enables manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to efficiently, accurately and securely communicate product recalls to customers and regulators. Where relevant, these trading partners can advise via the portal their updates and status for each recall advice.
Based on GS1 standards and global best practice, the service is designed to increase the speed and accuracy in the removal of unsafe or unsuitable products from the supply chain.
Industry continues its involvement with the development and support of the Recall service through an advisory group consisting of associations, retailers / recipients, distributors and manufacturers. The advisory group ensures the Recall service meets the ongoing requirements of industry to properly create, exchange and manage recalls and non-recall notices.
Recall – part of an organisation’s traceability capability
GS1 Australia’s head of supply chain improvement Peter Chambers said the increasing demands for product safety for consumers and an effective product recall management process is a fundamental building block in today’s supply chain pyramid.
“GS1 Recall should be part of every organisation’s traceability capability. The service uses global GS1 standards and ISO standards and is clearly supported by industry and regulators including FSANZ and ACCC,” said Mr Chambers.
In the event of a product recall or withdrawal, Recall ensures affected products are correctly identified and expressly removed or quarantined, targeting all affected parties with the right information to allow them to remove only the items identified in the notice.
“Ensuring your company is trained and ready to execute a recall effectively and accurately in a highly stressful situation minimises consumer harm and business interruption.”
Managing director at Drury Orchards Rick Drury said: “If we have to notify our customers of a recall, we know we will be able to do so quickly. With GS1 Recall, we can be sure that the notification will reach the people it needs to, when it needs to, so they can act quickly.”
GS1 Australia provides complete training and ongoing support for both Recall sponsors and recipients so users can be reassured they will be adequately prepared to action a recall or withdrawal notice, safely and securely online.
“Recall is the only product recall notification system that is documented in the FSANZ Food Industry Recall Protocol. Therefore, companies using the Recall portal to communicate a notice can be assured they are meeting their regulatory requirements,” Mr Chambers said.
“The ability of Recall to assemble, exchange and receive information from and between trading partners enables companies to record and report on the progress of a product recall.”
With current subscribers including major retailers such as Coles, Woolworths, Metcash, Costco, Priceline and Harris Farm Markets, Recall is the key to a more effective product recall management process.
Nestlé eBusiness manager Mandeep Sodhi said: “Nestlé has integrated GS1 Recall within our own product recall and withdrawal processes as it provides far greater speed, accuracy and control over such a critical event.”
Recall has also been certified by HACCP Australia as being effective and suitable for businesses operating a HACCP food safety program and is also mentioned in the FSANZ Food Industry Recall Protocol.
‘Mock recalls’ get you ready for the real thing
Recall is also helping organisations with a critical part of product recall preparation – undertaking ‘mock recalls’.
In the Recall portal, a mock recall is required twice a year for all businesses that manufacture, import, distribute or wholesale food products as part of their recall procedure in line with the Food Industry Recall Protocol set by FSANZ for annual mock events. Mock recalls are an essential part of HACCP, ISO and many other quality certification programs.
“Ensuring your company is trained and ready to execute a recall effectively and accurately in a highly stressful situation minimises consumer harm and business interruption. It is of critical importance for businesses of any size to put recall plans and procedures into practice with mock recalls,” Mr Chambers said.
Effective mock recall drills provide valuable insights into handling the real thing when it happens. The ‘mock recall’ function in Recall is designed to be part of a full mock recall process in a secure environment, helping organisations find and bridge any gaps before they encounter a real-life recall situation.
For more information contact GS1 Australia on 1300 BARCODE or visit www.gs1au.org/our-services/recall.