Another widespread food recall has taken a toll on the food industry. This time, a sunflower seed supplier has issued a recall due to a possible listeria contamination, potentially impacting hundreds of products across dozens of brands. As sunflower seeds are often used in a range of foods, recalls are now being issued across the country.
It’s not the first time an ingredient has had a ripple effect throughout the industry. In Q1 2015, a common spice was recalled due to an undeclared allergen. In the end, the recall affected 14 companies, 100 brands, and 153 individual products. As is often the case in these situations, the affected products crossed both FDA and USDA oversight, adding even more complexity to an already challenging situation.
While industry experts are hopeful that new FSMA rules, including additional preventative controls and increased inspections, will reduce the impact of such recalls in the future, companies should also consider the proactive steps they can take to address these issues. This approach includes collaborating with regulators and other experts to ensure internal teams are up-to-date with regulations in every region where they operate. They should also ensure food safety and sanitation policies are being followed, both internally and with suppliers. Investing in new technologies can help boost quality efforts and tracking capabilities across their supply chain.
Although these steps can help prevent problems, the fact is that even with the strictest of policies and procedures in place, recalls will happen. Companies need to develop and regularly update a comprehensive recall plan that accounts for the possibility of a multiplier effect. Food regulators require rapid response when a contamination could cause serious health issues, and being prepared is the only way to ensure both internal teams and recall partners are ready to take action immediately when a crisis occurs.
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