Have you ever had to press the dreaded recall button?
Recalls can happen for a number of reasons – from contamination with glass or metal, to undeclared food allergens because of labelling mix-ups.
Whatever the reason for the recall, it can end up costing your business greatly in revenue and, most importantly, your reputation as a trusted producer of safe product.
So, what can you do?
In addition to having a product recall system in place to deal quickly with a recall, Australian manufacturers need to proactively invest in the right systems and technology in place to detect any issues beforeyour products leave the factory.
Here are 3 ways you can immunise yourself against a product recall:
- Artwork controls and checks
Put rigorous artwork checks and controls in place to ensure you are labelling your products correctly in the first place.
Ensure you understand the labelling guidelines related to your produce – check the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) website for details. Or get in touch with your relevant industry association for advice. For example, Wine Australia publishes labelling guides for domestic sale and export – simply go to the website and search the relevant market.
Another handy tool is GS1 Australia’s Barcode Check, which will check that your barcodes scan properly at point of sale. This will help you avoid having to re-design, re-print, or recall products due to ineffective or unworkable barcodes.
- Vision inspection systems
Once the labelling artwork is correct, it needs to go on the right product.
Small goods manufacturer Hellers has just been fined after three children suffered allergic reactions after consuming mispackaged Sizzlers sausages. The cheese sausages were wrongly packaged as regular sausages.
Coles Express had to recall one of its ready-to-eat beef pies following a labelling mix-up last year, when wrappers for the Coles Express Big Yum Beef Pie were mistakenly filled with the Coles Express Big Yum Bacon and Egg pie.
How can you prevent this from happening on your line?
Vision inspection systems.
Installed on the packaging line, vision inspection systems can be used to inspect the product and the packaging to make sure the labels and barcodes match the product inside – without the need for human intervention.
Vision inspection systems can also look at ready meals and identify that something is wrong or missing.
- X-ray or metal detection
Mislabelling isn’t the only thing you need to check for.
As I mentioned above, Nanna’s had the same issue with its family apple pies in December. FSANZ issued a statement warning customers to return the pies to the supermarket due to the potential presence of glass.
The right inspection equipment can help you stop products leaving the door with foreign objects inside.
There are two main types of inspection system to consider here: metal detection systems and X-ray technology.
Metal detectors are capable of detecting and rejecting all metal types, to provide the highest protection against product contamination and recalls.
X-ray technology can detect unwanted contaminants like glass, metal and mineral stone.
X-Ray and metal detection feature on the list of 5 types of inspection equipment every manufacturer should know.
Over to you
The best way to manage a recall is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Implementing the right systems to detect any foreign contaminants or packaging errors in your product before they leave your doors means you can greatly reduce your risk of product recall.
Speak to the experts at Matthews for information about the different labelling, coding and inspection systems on offer and they can be integrated into your packaging line.
Image credits: iStock/ Artur (main); iStock/ eyjafjallajokull (middle)