Food recall rate stable: AFGC

Posted by James Ferre on 3rd July 2009

There has been no significant jump in the number of food product recalls in Australia this year, according to research by Australia’s leading organisation representing food and grocery manufacturers, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC).

The AFGC was responding to a new study by Australian crisis management company Luttrell and Associates that suggested food safety recall rates were up by a third in 2009.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell highlighted that industry-based research showed that since July 2005, the number of recalls had remained stable in Australia, with an average number of 52 recalls per year. In the past financial year, research showed there were a total of 49 recalls, while in the 2008 financial year there were 51 recalls.

“These statistics clearly show that food product recalls in Australia are not on the rise,” Ms Carnell said. “Unsubstantiated statements that food recalls are on the increase in Australia are alarmist and fail to recognise the variability in the data being analysed.”

“AFGC research demonstrates there has been no significant jump in the number of average monthly recalls in the last few years.”

However, Ms Carnell added that AFGC warned food and grocery manufacturers about being complacent about this issue, saying it was essential that businesses were properly prepared to deal with a food safety crisis and had a well documented food recall plan.

“AFGC has expressed concern after a recent Food Standards Australia New Zealand survey showed that half of all food businesses that are required by law to have a food recall plan don’t have one,” Ms Carnell said.

AFGC will be launching a new Crisis Management Guideline at the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) conference in Brisbane on July 15. The guide incorporates new guidance on risk assessment and is a step-by-step plan for businesses to develop their own Crisis Management Plan and Food Recall Plan.