Rethinking the future of recalls.

Feb/Mar Food & Safety Magazine 2019

Food recalls are an important tool that can be used to protect the public from exposures to potentially unsafe products. Yet, carrying out an effective recall presents obvious challenges. There are the logistical difficulties involved with the accurate identification, efficient retrieval, and appropriate disposal of potentially contaminated food products. There are also substantial legal, regulatory, financial, and reputational issues with which to contend.

However, once products have been sold to the public, the most significant challenge involves getting individual consumers to look for, correctly recognize, and discard or return food products that might make them ill. Convincing individuals to act appropriately in response to a food recall often requires food companies, retailers, government agencies, and consumer groups to interact with consumers in unique and consequential ways that are atypical in their normal course of business. Getting recalled foods out of the hands of consumers requires a different set of strategies than those that put them there in the first place. A recall is not food marketing in reverse….

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