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All Food Businesses Now Need To Do Yearly Mock Recalls

In good news for both consumers and the food industry, a legislation change requiring food businesses to carry out a simulated recall every 12 months comes into effect tomorrow.

“A simulated recall tests the ability of a business to trace and recall their products, ensuring they are prepared if a genuine food recall is required to prevent or limit harm to consumers,” says New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) acting deputy-directory general Jenny Bishop.

“Consumer safety is always the priority when there is a recall. Businesses must be able to act quickly and accurately to identify and remove at-risk product from shelves. Having effective systems in place to do that protects people from contaminated food, which can cause serious harm.”

From 1 July 2023, all businesses with a plan or programme under the Food Act, Wine Act, or Animal Products Act, as well as food importers and exporters, will need to carry out a simulated recall at least every 12 months.

“Just like fire or earthquake drills, a simulated recall will help businesses ensure their procedures work, staff know what to do, and any gaps are identified before a real emergency arises.

“All food businesses have a role in ensuring the safety of food in New Zealand; practicing for a food recall ensures they will know how to play their part when problems are identified,” said Ms Bishop.

“Food business strive to make sure the food they produce is safe. However, from time to time, things can go wrong, and food businesses must be ready to quickly recall unsafe food.

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“Businesses can get guidance from New Zealand Food Safety to help them fix any issues found in the test run to improve the speed and effectiveness of any real recalls they have to carry out in the future.”

To help food businesses prepare for the introduction of mandatory simulated recalls, NZFS has developed guidance and resources, and has been engaging with the industry about the new requirement over the past couple of years.

NZFS has a toolbox to create a scenario and procedures for a simulated food recall on its website, and will continue to work with verifiers, businesses, and other groups to educate the industry about the new requirements and best practice for food recalls.

“We recommend that everyone subscribes to New Zealand Food Safety’s food recall alerts on our website, so that anyone who has already bought recalled food is notified immediately. It is very important that all consumers respond to recall information to keep themselves and their whanau safe,” said Ms Bishop.

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