ProductRecallNZ, a new system that provides companies with a more efficient tool to notify retailers when a product must be recalled or withdrawn, launches on Monday with the backing of both big supermarket chains.
The web-based portal has been developed by supply-chain standards organisation GS1 NZ in conjunction with the Food & Grocery Council (FGC), Foodstuffs, and Progressive Enterprises.
FGC members Nestle, Cadbury, DB Breweries, Fonterra Brands, Goodman Fielder, and Kimberly-Clark helped to trial it.
Food & Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said ProductRecallNZ will replace largely manual processes that rely on paper-based communication, emails, and phone calls by exchanging “real time” information between trading partners.
“In any supermarket there will be 20,000 to 40,000 different products to choose from, but sometimes, even with the best production systems in place, products need to be recalled. According to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), in the 12 months to July 2011 there were 40 food recalls for a range of reasons.
Rich was not aware of any cases of a food product being sold after a recall causing harm.
According to Fairfax, GS1 spent hundreds of thousands of dollars developing the voluntary system, which 100 organisations have signed up to use.
GS1 spokesman Shaun Bosson said retailers would first be informed of a recall by text message and email, and Countdown and Foodstuffs would integrate the system with their checkouts so that products subject to a recall could not be sold.
"The more companies that join it, the more efficient and effective the system will be," Rich said.
Subscriptions are based on annual turnover, with a scale of fees that starts at $95 + GST per annum for small businesses with a turnover between $0-1 million.