Conducting a product recall—food and drink
Produced in partnership with Tom Fox of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer
Conducting a product recall—food and drink

The following Risk & Compliance guidance note Produced in partnership with Tom Fox of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Conducting a product recall—food and drink
  • Applicable legislation and definitions
  • Guidance
  • Food safety requirements
  • Traceability
  • Notification
  • Food alerts and the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)
  • Withdrawal
  • Recall
  • Other potential consequences
  • more

Applicable legislation and definitions

The main piece of legislation relevant to food product recalls is the General Food Law Regulation (EC) No 178/2002. This EU legislation is directly applicable and provides the general principles of food safety. The Food Safety Act 1990 (FSA 1990) (as amended) provides the framework for all food legislation in the UK and similar legislation applies in Northern Ireland.

‘Food’ is defined as:

'any substance or product, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, intended to be, or reasonably expected to be, ingested by humans'

This definition includes drink.

A food business operator is the person or company responsible for ensuring the requirements of food law are met within the food business under their control. Guidance indicates that this extends to anyone supplying food, except in the context of domestic private consumption.

Guidance

Extensive guidance also appears on the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) website. The main guidance covering food recall is: Guidance on Food Traceability, Withdrawals and Recalls within the UK Food Industry.

Food safety requirements

Food businesses must only place safe food on the market. Food is unsafe if it is either injurious to health, or unfit for human consumption.

When determining whether food is unsafe, its normal conditions of use and information about specific adverse health effects must be considered.

When determining whether food is injurious to