Saturday, May 26, 2007

Food Recall Plan

What Is A Food Recall Plan?

In the event of a foodborne illness outbreak, it is important to have traceback and recall procedures in place. We know that trace-backs cannot prevent foodborne illness from occurring but being able to review good records and quickly trace a food back to its source can limit the public health and economic impacts of an outbreak.

Food processors should develop and implement systems to facilitate tracebacks and recalls in the event of a problem, even test their systems regularly by conducting unannounced mock recalls. Traceback typically begins with the retail source of the food product thought to cause illness or injury and works back to a processing facility. Information from a traceback can often be used to aid in prevention of future illness outbreaks. Recall procedures are developed and used by processors to withdraw product that is already in the marketplace. A processor should be able to track all products. Records such as the supplier identification, production and distribution records for a specific lot of product should be orderly, properly maintained and easily retrievable in less than one hour.

It is good procedure to periodically test the firm's ability to retrieve information from the records by conducting mock recalls. Lot coding packages by date code or other coding may facilitate recovery of the product, if a recall is needed. Production records and date codes help put the puzzle together to identify the source.

What Are The Consequences Of An Outbreak That Implicates A Product?
Without records, the whole product line is suspect. All of the production procedures are suspect. More questions are raised than can be answered.

- Is the problem limited to only one day, one week, or one month of production?

- Is the source of the problem incoming product or employee practices?

- Has dirty equipment contaminated the product?

If a production facility has accurate records of effective cleaning and sanitation of equipment, has well-trained employees, and pays consistent attention to GMP, Prerequisite Programs and HACCP, the facility will greatly reduce the likelihood of it’s products causing a foodborne illness outbreak.

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