Script: Developing a Recall Plan
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Hello and welcome back to another podcast on recalls. I’m Jeff White and with me again
is Dr. Kerri L. Harris from FSIS. Today we‘re discussing how to develop a recall plan
so you can be better prepared if you find yourself in a recall situation.
As we discussed in the previous episode, the best strategy is to prevent a recall and
maintain good quality control. However, recalls do happen and establishments should be
prepared. Having a plan in place goes a long way in getting through a recall with as
little interruption of work flow and loss of revenue as possible. So Dr. Harris, how
can establishments prepare?
Jeff, the first thing owners and operators of establishments can do is familiarize
themselves with FSIS Directive 8080.1, Revision 4, which outlines the terminology,
responsibilities, and public notification procedures for the recall of meat and
poultry products. The next thing is to develop a written recall plan that gives a
step-by-step procedure to follow in case of a recall. Every employee who may be
involved in a recall should be familiar with the plan.
Should all personnel in a plant be involved in the recall process?
The best recall plans designate one person to serve as the company’s recall
coordinator. This person should be knowledgeable about all aspects of the plant’s
operations, including purchasing, handling and storage of incoming materials,
processing, quality assurance, distribution, and consumer complaints.
The recall coordinator heads a recall committee of company employees who would be
involved in a recall. This person is authorized to make decisions in carrying out the
plan. Contact information for every member of the committee should be readily
available and updated often. The recall coordinator should also periodically brief
company management on recall preparedness activities.
Okay, let’s talk about the recall plan. What goes into this plan?
The plan is essentially a template for the company’s response in the event a recall is
needed. The first step is to identify the purpose of the recall, that is, to specify
what products are affected, and why they may need to be recalled.
The recall plan should state the exact nature of the hazard involved. And, it should
identify all actions needed to remove affected product. Also, the plan should list who
should be notified such as consumers, retailers, or wholesalers.
Next the plan needs to address notifying the public. The recall plan should also
provide for follow-up communications reporting on the status of the recall, the amount
of product recovered, the disposition of returned product and plans for termination of
So, how does a company know if its recall plan is adequate?
That’s a good question, Jeff. It’s a good idea to test a recall plan. Establishments
should test their ability to make and execute a recall plan by carrying out periodic
recall simulations. Then, if they ever need to recall a product, their plan is more
likely to run smoothly, protecting the company by protecting their customers to the
greatest degree possible.
Where can we learn more about developing a recall plan?
FSIS’ Web site contains a lot of information on recalls. Just navigate to
www.fsis.usda.gov and click on the subject
“FSIS Recalls.” Or, call the FSIS Recall Management Staff at (202) 202-690-6389.
Thank you Dr. Harris. Well, that’s all for now.
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