How to Prepare for and Respond to a Product Recall

By: Wayne Du, On-Farm Food Safety Specialist, OMAF and MRA

Having an effective recall system in place is essential to removing contaminated food products from the supply chain quickly and preventing foodborne illness. Are you ready to conduct a product recall? Here are some helpful tips.

Preparing for a recall

  • Identify and record contact information for local regulatory authorities and relevant parties such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), inspectors, your suppliers and buyers, commodity organizations, emergency personnel and veterinarians.
  • Have the production information and supporting records organized and handy in the event of a recall.
  • Perform a mock recall to test the effectiveness and efficiency of your recall system.
  • Ensure you can identify, locate and recall 100% of affected product within 48hrs.

Responding to a recall

  • If a problem has been identified within your operation or with your product, and a recall needs to be initiated, notify the CFIA   immediately with the following information:
    • A detailed description of the nature of the problem.
    • Details of complaints received and any illnesses reported.
    • The name or brand of the product, product description and quantity and lot number(s) of the product affected.
    • Label(s) of the product(s).
    • Distribution of the product.
    • Dates of the product distributed.
    • Contact information of your operation’s recall coordinator for both working and off- working hours.
  • Notify your buyers and other relevant parties of the situation immediately.

Although producers do everything they can to ensure safe quality products, recalls can and do occur. Being prepared for a recall will help save your time, overall costs to your business and most importantly it will ensure the safety of consumers.

For more information on food recalls, refer to “Food Recall and Emergency Response” on the CFIA website or attend our free online workshops on recall. Visit us at: or call: 1-877-424-1300 for the workshops.

About Sean Westerveld

Ginseng and Medicinal Herbs Specialist, OMAFRA
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