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FAQs about food recalls for consumers

Food Recall Statistics Infographic 2015


What is a food recall?

A food recall occurs when a food product that poses a health and/or safety risk to the public is removed from all areas of the supply chain, including retail outlets. If a food is recalled, consumers are generally advised to return or dispose of the recalled food. Consumers are advised not to consume recalled food. For more information on what a food recall is, including how recalls are initiated and the levels of recall in Australia, see What is a food recall?. 

How do I find out if a food recall has occurred?

Consumer level recalls (recalls for products that have reached consumers) are published on the FSANZ's current consumer recalls webpage. FSANZ also publishes current recall information on Facebook and Twitter. Companies undertaking recalls should also have a plan to inform consumers, either through an advertisement in major newspapers; a press release to news media outlets; a notification at the store where the product has been sold; a notice on their website or social networking sites. Information on recalls requiring urgent consumer action may also be issued via a government media release by FSANZ, the federal Department of Health and Ageing or a by a state or territory health department. The ACCC publish information on recalls on their website, iPhone application and Facebook account.

How do I tell if I have a recalled food product?

The information given about a recalled product will contain identifying features, such as the name, brand, size, packaging details, Use By/ Best Before dates and batch or lot codes. If you believe you have the product in your home, you can match it with the identifying features provided in the recall notice.

What do I do if I suspect I have a recalled food product but the size/Use By/ Best Before/ batch code is different?

If you have the same product at home but it is of a different size/ Use By/ Best Before/batch code than the product subjected to the recall, the product you have at home may not be subject to the recall. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the company using the contact details provided on the recall notice. 

What do I do if I have a recalled food product at my home? 

If you are certain that you have a recalled food product at home, do not consume the product. You may wish to take the product back to the place of purchase for a full refund. If a full refund has not been offered by the company, please contact them to see what you should do. You may wish to dispose of the product at home.

What do I do if I suspect I have consumed a recalled food product?

If you are feeling unwell and suspect you have consumed a food product subject to recall please seek medical attention. You may wish to inform the medical professional of the nature of the recall.

What do I do if I have contacted the company responsible for the recalled food product, but am unsatisfied with their response?

If you have contacted the company conducting a recall with a reasonable question or request and you believe you were not taken seriously or are unsatisfied with the response you received, you can make a complaint to the local government authority that is in the same state as the head office of the company. For example, if the company is located in NSW, you may wish to make a complaint to the NSW Food Authority about that company. See list of local health authorities.

What do I do if I would like a refund after purchasing a recalled food product?

Most companies conducting a recall will offer a full refund at the place of purchase. If you are not offered a refund and believe you are entitled to one, you can contact the company on the contact details supplied in the recall notice. If you still do not receive a refund, you may wish to contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

I am confused as to why a food product has been recalled. Who do I contact to explain the recall to me?

Foods can be recalled for a variety of reasons, but generally the recall will only occur due to a concern for public health and safety. If you are confused as to why a company has chosen to recall, you can contact them on the contact details given in the recall notice. If you have further questions, you may wish to contact the FSANZ Food Recall Coordinator on 02 6271 2610 between 9am – 5pm on weekdays. The FSANZ Food Recall Coordinator may be able to assist with your question or point you in the right direction to get your question answered.

How do I make a complaint about a food product?

If you wish to make a complaint about a food product, contact your local food enforcement agency. See more information on making a complaint.


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