New guidance on food safety recalls and withdrawals

canned food on supermarket shelves Print publication


The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has drafted new guidance setting out the roles and responsibilities of key participants involved in food safety withdrawals and recalls. The guidance advises food businesses and enforcement authorities on how to comply with legislation when dealing with food safety withdrawals and recalls. It also provides advice on best practice and helps food businesses comply with food safety requirements.

The guidance includes advice on:

  • traceability systems
  • making a decision to withdraw or recall food
  • clarifying the roles and responsibilities of those involved in a food recall
  • how to plan for and manage a food safety withdrawal or recall
  • the key principles to effectively inform consumers of a food recall, including a template for a point of sale notice for use in retail stores
  • supporting industry to make trade communications consistent and effective.

Philip Randles, Head of Incidents and Resilience at the FSA said: “This guidance has been created with food businesses in mind, to help them carry out food safety withdrawals and recalls with greater ease and effectiveness. It’s been developed in partnership with representatives from the food industry, enforcement authorities and consumer organisations and is a key outcome from our joint review with Food Standards Scotland of the UK’s current system. We would welcome feedback. The responses we receive will help us to make sure the guidance is beneficial and helpful to businesses in the event of a food safety incident.”

WM Comment

The consultation period for feedback on the guidance closed on 4 February 2019 and the FSA plans to publish the final version of the guidance by June 2019. We will keep you updated.