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Food recalls

If you’re a food manufacturer, wholesaler or importer it’s important to know how to recall unsafe food as quickly as possible to avoid people becoming sick or injured from eating it.

What are the requirements?

Under Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, if you’re a food manufacturer, wholesale supplier or importer, you must be able to recall unsafe food. That means your business needs to:

  • have a written recall plan in place
  • use the plan if a recall is needed
  • show the plan to an authorised officer if asked.

All food businesses must make sure that any recalled food on their premises is clearly identified and held separate from other food until it is dealt with.

Be prepared

As a food manufacturer, wholesale supplier or importer you need to have a written recall plan in place so you can quickly stop distribution and sale of unsafe food.

It’s a good idea to check that your recall plan works by doing a practice recall.

Regardless of what type of business you are, you should know where the food you sell comes from in case it needs to be recalled.

Getting it right

Have a recall plan that includes:

  • who will recall your food and their responsibilities
  • who to contact, including the food enforcement agency where your business’s head office is located and FSANZ
  • contact details of everyone the product has been sent to
  • product name, date mark, batch code and other identifiers
  • arrangements for telling your customers and the public (if needed) about the food, and someone they can contact if they have questions
  • arrangements to retrieve food that has been returned to supermarkets or other outlets
  • a system to record how much food was distributed and how much is unaccounted for.

Need to recall a food product?

Visit our website for information on recalls including:

  • a step-by-step guide
  • a checklist and timeline of food recall tasks
  • a simple template to help you with your food recall plan.

Need more information?

Safe Food Australia is a guide to the food safety standards in Chapter 3 of the Food Standards Code.

Copies of the guide are available at on our website or by emailing information@foodstandards.gov.au.​

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