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How to recall food

(March 2017)

  • Food recall tasks and timeline  Click here to view a simple checklist of what to d​o and when ​​
  • Food recall video Click here to watch a video on recalling food in Australia
  • Food recall templates for the full list of available templates see the bottom of this page.

​1. Contact your food ​enforcement agency

First, seek advice from a recall action officer from the food enforcement agency in the state/territory where your head office is located. These officers can assist with determining if a recall is necessary and what type of recall (consumer or trade)

State and territory food recall contacts 

2. Follow your food recall plan

Your food recall plan should cover the procedures, records and staff responsibilities you’ll need to have in place to recall the product. All food manufacturers, importers and wholesale suppliers must have a written food recall plan in place to ensure unsafe food can be quickly removed from the food supply chain. The Food Industry Recall Protocol also provides guidance. 

3. Notify FSANZ

Call the FSANZ Food Recall Coordinator on (02) 6271 2610 (9am-5pm Monday–Friday). If it is outside business hours and your recall needs to be actioned urgently, call 0412 166 965. 

At this stage FSANZ will need to know: 

  • the name and description of the food being recalled
  • why the food is being recalled
  • which states/territories (or countries, if exported) the food has been sold in
  • what types of retail outlets the food has been sold from
  • which state/territory the food was manufactured in (or country, if imported). 

4. Fill out the food recall report 

Fill out this Food Recall Report and email it to FSANZ at food.recalls@foodstandards.gov.au. If you don’t have quick access to some of the requested information, fill it out as well as you can and send it promptly so that the recall is not delayed. The remaining information should then be provided as soon as possible.

FSANZ will also need:

  • an image (or label) of the affected product in its packaging
  • a detailed distribution list of the businesses to whom you have directly supplied the affected product (including each business’s name, full address, contact person and phone number). The relevant state/territory food enforcement agency may check to make sure these businesses have been notified of the recall details. You can use this template to provide distribution information or you can provide a list in some other format.

FSANZ will use this information to notify relevant state, territory and Commonwealth government agencies and industry groups of the recall (further details are in the Food Industry Recall Protocol).

 

*Please see note below for exported food recalls.

5. Notify your customers 

Call your customers (i.e. those businesses that have received the recalled product) as soon as possible to tell them that the food is being recalled, and what to do with the affected product (for further details see the Food Industry Recall Protocol). 

Notification should be followed up in writing by email, fax or through rapid electronic systems such as GS1 Recallnet. You should confirm that your customers have received your notification, for example by requesting confirmation they received an email. You should also keep a record of this communication to satisfy the post-recall reporting requirements.

You can use this template for notifying business customers.

6. Notify the public (for consumer level recalls)

For consumer level recalls, you will also need to inform the public using one or more of the options listed below. You will need to discuss your communication plan with your food enforcement agency before you go ahead with notifications.

Some options man include:

  • Press advertisement (use this press advertisement template) – FSANZ can draft an advertisement for you, or you can make your own using the template. It is your responsibility to place it in the newspapers by booking advertising space. Click here for a list of preferred newspapers. Note: all advertisements should be approved by FSANZ before they are sent to newspapers for publication. More information is in FAQs for food businesses.
  • Point-of-sale notifications (use this template) placed in a prominent position at retail outlets, such as near the cash register
  • Online notifications, such as on your company's website and social media accounts
  • Direct notice to consumers (for example, by email to customers as part of a loyalty or membership program)
  • Media release (use this media release template) – this release can be published through a media release distribution service (search for services using an internet search or the yellow pages)
  • Radio advertisements or announcements (use this radio advertisement template

7. Account for retrieved recalled product and take appropriate action

Recalled food products may be recovered by returns to retailers, returns via distribution chains or direct returns from customers. The recalled food is usually disposed of but may be reworked or re-labelled (if appropriate – check with your food enforcement agency). Records need to be kept of the amount of recalled food recovered.

8. Submit a post recall report

You will need to submit an interim and then a final post-recall report to FSANZ to demonstrate that the recall has been progressed and completed satisfactorily. The FSANZ Food Recall Coordinator will provide you with the report form (here is an example).

The interim report is due two weeks after the recall was initiated — you will only need to complete Part A of the post-recall report form. A final post-recall report, containing final stock recovery numbers and all concluding information, is due four weeks after the recall was initiated — you will need to answer all questions in the post-recall report form.

FSANZ will then advise the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the relevant state or territory health authority of the post-recall information.

 

More information

For more information about recalling food, see FSANZ's FAQs for food businesses.

 

*Exported foods 

If affected product has been exported, you must also notify the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.  You will need to complete a table with additional information about the exports (including the health certificate number, destination country, quantity, date of manufacture) and provide it directly to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Download this table for additional information about exported food

Read more about recalls of food that has been exported

List of all recall templates:

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