New Zealand Food Safety has updated its food recall guidance to make it faster and easier for businesses to prepare for and conduct food recalls, says NZFS deputy director general Vincent Arbuckle.
“Food businesses generally do a good job of keeping their customers safe”, says Arbuckle. “When things go wrong, they have a responsibility to work quickly and effectively to identify and remove potentially unsafe products from shelves.
The updated guidance aims to drive consistent best practice across all food business regardless of size or business model.
Arbuckle says the department worked closely with food businesses and verifiers to ensure the guidance was practical, relevant and easy to use. The new resources includes a toolbox of example procedures, checklists, and spreadsheets. You can find these on the MPI website, as well as an updated recall risk assessment form and recall audit form.
Arbuckle says “We’re also developing a short video about how to do a food recall, and an online tool to help them meet their requirements digitally. Look out for these on our website later this year. An important part of the guidance is information about how to practice food recalls to make them easier to deal with when they happen. These practice recalls work in a similar way to fire drills by ensuring processes are working and helping to identify problems before they arise.”
The best way people at home can prepare for food recalls is by having up-to-date information on recalls underway. That is particularly the case for those who have food allergies or are vulnerable to foodborne illness, including the very young, the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.
An easy way to do this is to subscribe to MPI’s recall page. That way, that each time there is a new recall you will receive an email with all the information you need.
“We have a robust food safety system and New Zealanders rightly take it as a given that the food they eat will not make them sick. I’d like to thank food businesses and verifiers for working alongside us to ensure consumer safety.”New Zealand Food Safety”, says Arbuckle.