"New Zealand Food Safety (a business unit of the Ministry for Primary Industries/MPI) works with local councils and food businesses to help ensure food for sale to consumers is safe, correctly labelled, and suitable for its intended use.
Food safety problems can arise even within the best-managed food businesses. In some cases, where there is a food safety problem in food that has been distributed, this may lead to a food recall.
Although a food recall may have an immediate impact on a food business, it will protect a brand in the long run. Customers can trust that a business is doing the right thing and that the business cares about their well-being.
Food manufacturers, retailers, distributors, producers and wholesalers should be prepared by having a food recall plan in place.
Information on developing a food recall plan, and templates for use, are available at www.mpi.govt.nz/food-safety/food-recalls/
The first step in any potential recall process is to notify the MPI Food Compliance team, via
Food.Compliance@mpi.govt.nz or phone 0800 00 83 33.
The Food Compliance team will work with you to decide whether a recall is necessary. There is a risk assessment form to help you prepare information and is used by MPI to help determine whether a recall is needed.
If the risk assessment shows that the food is unsafe or unsuitable, and likely to affect public health, a food recall will be needed. To ensure that public health is protected at all times, a food business must apply the precautionary principle when assessing risk. In short, this means that if there is doubt; err on the side of caution.
Once a decision to recall is made, it may be either a trade level recall or a consumer-level recall. A trade level recall generally involves food that has not been available for direct purchase by the general public and is not publicly notified. A consumer recall is more extensive than a trade recall. It recovers the food from all points in the production and distribution network, including any affected food in the possession of consumers.
Therefore, customers must be informed of a consumer recall. The Food Compliance team will work with you on a communications plan that will use a variety of communication channels to best reach your customers.
The Chief Executive of MPI can order a recall under the Food Act 2014 and can also make privileged statements to protect consumers and to inform the public. Both recalls and privileged statements are public statements."