About this guidance
Information on this web page is also available to download as a document.
Step-by-step food recall guidance for food businesses [PDF, 682 KB]
What is a food recall?
If something has gone wrong with your food product you may need to recall it.
You will need to assess the risk to consumers, and choose what to do. Your options are:
- A consumer-level recall: This involves removing affected product from the supply chain and communicating to consumers.
- A trade-level recall: This involves removing affected product from the supply chain.
- No further action: Resolve the problem without the need for a recall.
Consumer-level recall or trade-level recall?
Generally, New Zealand Food Safety will recommend a:
- consumer-level recall if your product has a food safety problem and has been sold to consumers – unless the product has no or minimal shelf-life – or for some chemical hazards.
- trade-level recall if your product has not been sold to consumers or it has a suitability problem.
If the problem is neither a food safety nor a suitability problem, businesses can remove product from trade without any New Zealand Food Safety involvement. This is often called a withdrawal. An example might be when wrong colour bottle caps have been used.
Who should be involved in a recall decision?
Senior staff should be involved in the decision, as well as staff working in operations, marketing and communication, and sales and distribution.
You can contact New Zealand Food Safety any time for help on 0800 00 83 33 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended steps for doing a food recall
- Step 1 to 3: Do these steps as soon as practicable, in proportion to the risk. In most cases, this will be within a day.
- Step 4 and 5: Complete these steps as soon as practicable within 24 hours of the recall decision.
- Step 6: This should be done within a few weeks of the recall and may continue for complex cases.