Food business operators have been mandated by Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that they will need a detailed recall plan to oblige with any forthcoming recall orders. This recall plan that shall also be a part of annual audit needs to be submitted to food authority upon request.
Recall procedures for food companies have been clearly laid out by the Indian national food safety regulator. In addition to food imports being checked by port authorities and exports needing to be compliant with the targeted country’s safety norms, recall guidelines will also be applicable on food manufactured overseas and food meant for exports.
Initiation for recall has to be acted upon immediately by removing the stocks in question from shelves and be returned to manufacturer, importer or wholesaler. Notice about the recall is to be circulated through press releases, letters and advertisements. Stock recall status reports have to be periodically informed to the food authorities. The frequencies of such reports are subject to the gravity of the recall. Any operator in food industry shall be vulnerable for appropriate action if a recall order is violated. All these rules are in best interests of the food industry, government and consumers in particular.
If the food authority lifts its verdict of recall after detailed testing, food once recalled takes time to reach the consumers again which tweaks on its shelf-life. This issue has also raised a debate among food companies on authority’s testing protocols and sample sizes.
This issue traces back to recent Maggi recalls that was issued on the grounds of higher MSG and Lead levels in tested samples. FSSAI also had recently directed recall of pharma supplements manufactured by Jagadale industries. The food regulator has recently asked states to increase surveillance over products from companies that might be non-compliant on food safety. The surveillance is currently extended to contaminated packaged drinking water, edible oil, milk and its products.
Retail environment of India is a complicated cobweb and a practical and cost-effective recall system is long overdue. Traceability is a worrying issue because of the Industry’s disaggregated nature. A company needs to have a precise batch-wise documentation of its forward supply chain. This is often made easy with technological platform like Rain +Move which facilitates accurate product traceability.
When the company needs to test its reject batches to know what went wrong, source and attributes of raw materials are to be traced. Cloud-based software like Rain +Grow eases the difficulty when the sourced raw materials are in question. It keeps a geo tag for every raw material sourced such that the quality norms can precisely be tracked.