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Conducting a food recall

Click here to watch a video on recalling food in Australia.​

Food recall tasks and timeline simple checklist of what to d​o and when ​​

​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

It is a requirement under Standard 3.2.2 – Food Safety Practices and General Requirements of the Food Standards Code that all food businesses engaged in the wholesale supply, manufacture or importation of food have a food recall plan. The FSANZ published Food Recall Plan Template​can help you develop your own food recall plan in an easy to follow, quick reference style. The template should be used alongside the Food Industry Recall Protocol as it provides further comprehensive guidance on recalling food in Australia. 

3. Notify FSANZ

Notify FSANZ of the recall by calling the FSANZ food recall coordinator on (02) 6271 2610 (9am-5pm Monday–Friday). 

If it is outside of business hours and your recall needs to be actioned urgently, phone the FSANZ after-hours recall phone on 0412 166 965. 

Provide FSANZ with the following preliminary information about the recall: 

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

4. Fill out the food recall report

Fill out the Food Recall Report​ and email it to food.recalls@foodstandards.gov.au.  If you do not have easy or quick access to some of the information requested in the report, fill out the report to the best of your ability and send it to FSANZ, so that the recall is not delayed.  The remaining information should then be provided as soon as possible.

*Please see note below for exported food recalls.

5. Notify your customers

Notify your customers of the recall (those businesses which received the recalled product) and provide them with information on what to do with the affected product (further information on these requirements are provided in the Food Industry Recall Protocol). Keep a record of this communication. 

6. Notify the public (for consumer level recalls)

For consumer-level recalls, you will need to inform the public using one or more of the following forms of public communication listed below.  Your communication plan for the recall needs to be discussed with your food enforcement agency before being finalised.

  • Press advertisement – FSANZ can draft an advertisement on your behalf, but it's your responsibility to place it in the newspapers by booking advertising space. A list of preferred newspapers is provided on the FSANZ website. If you would like to create your own press advertisement, there is a template on the FSANZ website - Press Advertisement. Note: all advertisements should be approved by FSANZ before they are sent to newspapers for publication.
  • Point of sale notifications (use the press advertisement template) in a prominent position at retail level – such as near the cash register.
  • Online notifications, such as your company's website and social media sites
  • Direct notice to consumers (for example, via email to customers as part of a loyalty or membership program)
  • Media release (see the media release template)
  • Radio advertisements or announcements (see the 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 (if appropriate and in consultation with your food enforcement agency) be reworked or relabelled. Records need to be kept of the amount of recalled food recovered. 

8. Submit a post recall report

Submit a post recall report to FSANZ (as provided to you after the recall by the FSANZ food recall officer – here is an example​) to demonstrate that the recall has been undertaken satisfactorily. An interim report is due two weeks after a recall has been initiated; the final post recall report is due one month after a recall has been initiated.

 

*Note: If affected product has been exported, you must also notify the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.  You will need to complete an additional table containing information about those exports, and you will need to provide it directly to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. This information includes health certificate number, destination country, quantity, date of manufacture. 

Download the table for additional information about e​xports​

Read more about recalls of food that have been exported

 

 
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