Food Recall Process

What is food recall?

A food recall is a voluntary action initiated by the manufacturers when they come to know that the product has been adulterated, unsafe or mislabeled. This action is a corrective action taken by the manufacturer to protect the consumers from prospective undesirable effects.

Why food recalls need to be initiated?

Basically the recall happens when the management is made aware of the situations like their products are unsafe for usage or adulterated or mislabeled. The recall will also be initiated where it is a manufacturer’s defect which came into light only after the sample test. It might be the company’s food safety policy, regulatory requirement or on top of all it might be ethics of the company. Though the financial implication on the recall is very gross, it is important to recall because it would jeopardize consumer’s life and tarnish the company’s image and protect it from the negative publicity.

The food recall is classified into 3 classes:

The food safety regulatory bodies evaluates the potential hazard and assesses the hazard severity, classifies under which the food need to be recalled.


Class Definition Examples
Class I A health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause serious, adverse health consequences, or death. E.coli O157:H7 in ground beef; Salmonella in peanut butter; Food with an undeclared allergen
Class II A health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from eating the food. Product containing a foreign material
Class III A situation where eating the food will not cause adverse health consequences. Minor labeling problems, such as improper format or undeclared ingredients that are not allergens

Communication for food recall:


The manufacturer should plan his recall process before a problem is triggered. The management should take an initiative to initiate the process of food recall by communicating it to his authorized distribution agents.

With the help of local food regulatory bodies the recall can be initiated.




Post recall it is very vital to evaluate the recall which helps in determining the after effects of the recall and the adverse implications it has. Effective measures should be taken to restrict the future possibilities of recall.





Proper planning and traceability system will help to complete the food recall process smoothly. Communication and proper coordination with the distribution agents within the short notice to recall the food items will be an added advantage, which helps in saving consumer’s life from the potential hazards and save the company from getting a negative image.


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