Food business management systems

Food business management systems

apples on a conveyor belt

Many Private Voluntary Standards adopted by food business in the food supply chain (farm to market) have provisions relating to the management of incidents that impact on food safety, legality and quality including product withdrawal/recall.

The management of food safety incidents, product withdrawal and product recall is an important part of any food businesses quality management system.

At the farm level, for example, there is a recommendation that a documented plan for the effective management of serious incidents that threaten food safety is in place, that includes relevant contact details and is known to key staff (Red Tractor Farm Standards – Documents and Procedures).

Standards for Food businesses

For food businesses the standards are more detailed. Typically they should have in place a plan and system to effectively manage incidents that impact food safety, legality and quality, which enable the effective withdrawal and recall of products should this be required.

The recommendations include:

  • documented procedures to report and effectively manage incidents
  • consideration being given to the need to withdrawal/recall products which have been released for the site that may have been affected by an incident
  • a documented product withdrawal/recall procedure that includes
    • consideration being given to the need to withdrawal/recall products which have been released for the site that may have been affected by an incident
    • a documented product withdrawal/recall procedure that includes
    • a recall management team and responsibilities
    • guidelines to decide whether a product needs to be withdrawn or recalled
    • an up to date list of key contacts including regulatory authorities and customers
    • a communication plan including provision of information to customers, regulatory authorities and consumers
    • details of external agencies providing advice including regulatory authorities
    • a plan to handle logistics of product recovery or disposal.
    • a communication plan including provision of information to customers, regulatory authorities and consumers
  • Testing of the withdrawal/recall system at least annually, in a way that ensures effective operation including timings of key activities. The results are used to review the procedure and implement improvements

Similar standards apply in the feed sector for market recall and management of feed safety incidents. Feed manufactures should have a written recall procedure which is capable of being put into operation at any time, inside or outside normal working hours.