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Top 5 Tips for a Successful Mock Recall

They say ‘practice makes perfect,’ and when it comes to recalls, the phrase is spot on. Some companies may include recalls in broader crisis plans, but that often means their procedures are not as robust as necessary. Mock recalls are the single best way to determine recall readiness – but only if they are well thought out and properly executed.

Below are some of the top tips to follow for a successful mock recall.

  1. Know the regulations – Whether you’re regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), it is important to understand the landscape. For example, FDA and USDA recalls involve Class I, Class II, and Class III designations, depending on the severity, and these classifications often help determine the actions required – and how quickly they need to be implemented.
  1. Consider the complexities – Does the affected product involve lithium-ion batteries? If they will need to be transported and destroyed, you need to consider the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency, not just the CPSC. Could any food products cross FDA and USDA lines? Added regulatory bodies mean added complexity, so it is important to understand the entire landscape.
  1. Choose a likely scenario – This isn’t the time to come up with the most outlandish worst case – or best case – scenario you can dream up. Now is when you prepare for a likely outcome. Brush up on the top causes of recalls in your industry and create a situation based on that.
  1. Go through each step of the recall life cycle – Launch the drill starting with the earliest reports of a problem, whether it’s a report of contamination from a food supplier, complaints of unsafe product defects from consumers, or another trigger, the team needs to understand what to do from the very beginning – including the decision of whether to initiate a recall. Then, continue through each step of the recall life cycle. This includes identifying those affected, writing a press release, estimating the response level and customer service agent needs, considering regulatory reporting requirements, and determining the appropriate remedy.
  1. Observe and record – Make note of how team members are working together, of any regulatory mandates the organization didn’t understand, and note any gaps that may need to be filled by an outside party.

A recall scenario is bad enough, but botching the execution can cause serious damage to customer loyalty and put companies in danger of fines and legal liability. By preparing in advance, brands are in a better position to avoid these consequences and make it through a recall smoothly and efficiently.

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