Food Recall - A manufacturers worst nightmare

A food recall is action taken by a food manufacturing/production business to remove unsafe food from distribution, sale and consumption.

Food products are recalled to remove them from the marketplace because there is reason to believe the products may be defective, adulterated, contaminated, misbranded or mislabelled.

Classification of food recalls

Food recalls are classified by Food Standards Australia New Zealand under the flowing categories:

  • Microbial contamination
  • Labelling
  • Foreign matter
  • Chemical/other contaminants
  • Undeclared allergen
  • Biotoxin
  • Other

How is the problem detected?

How did the problem occur?

  1. Lack of skills and knowledge of labelling requirements
  2. Supplier verification issues, for example: raw ingredients contaminated
  3. Packaging errors
  4. Accidental cross contamination either of a raw ingredient, or during final production process.

Corrective actions

Some businesses took no corrective action at all and some addressed a few items however, all of the points below should be looked at to ensure the likelihood of another recall is reduced and hopefully never to happen again.

  • Training of staff
  • Improved communication procedures
  • Altered product label
  • Changed suppliers
  • New/changed equipment
  • Amended processing/handling procedures
  • Identified new critical control points
  • Improved manufacturing process
  • Improved hygiene practices


Be proactive

The cost of a recall can cost a company millions of dollars in direct costs with the recall, litigation costs, Government fines, lost sales, damaged brand or reputation.

Above figure shows the types of foods most commonly associated with food recalls. The food categories have been developed by FSANZ to aid reporting requirements and data collection. The food type most commonly associated with a recall is ‘Mixed and/or Processed Food’. This is likely due to the wide range of foods that are categorised under this heading, including most long-life packaged food and manufactured items that contain multiple ingredients. ‘Breads and bakery products’ is the second largest food type associated with recalls.


What needs to be done?

This is where Business Maintenance Solutions can help by setting up procedures and processes, preventative maintenance schedules, compliance inspection reports, supplier listing and audit schedules.


The information for this article was taken from