3 ways Australian manufacturers can avoid product recalls

3 ways Australian manufacturers can avoid product recalls

Have you ever had to press the dreaded recall button? 

In December, anurgent recall was issued for Nanna’s Family Apple Pie, which is sold at major supermarkets across Australia, for fears it could be contaminated with glass. 

Earlier the same week, Charlesworth Nuts recalled nine products after pieces of metal were found inside a product in South Australia.

Just a few days later, Aldi recalled its mayonnaise because the jars could contain glass.

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’s how you can avoid product recalls due to packaging + labelling faults. Download Now

Here are 3 ways you can immunise yourself against a product recall: 

  1. 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. 

There are lots of other benefits to installing a vision inspection system – read all about them here

vision inspection systems X-ray or metal detection
Because they can be very costly in revenue, reputation + brand trust, it’s important Australian manufacturers learn how they can avoid product recalls.
  • X-ray or metal detection

Mislabelling isn’t the only thing you need to check for. 

In late 2018, Target issued a nationwide recall on a particular brand of beer nuts over fears they could contain hazardous glass fragments.

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

Not sure which is the best option for you? Here are some questions to consider.  

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. 

Are there benefits of integrating identification + inspection? Absolutely! This free whitepaper details how + why. Download Now

Image credits: iStock/ Artur (main); iStock/ eyjafjallajokull (middle)

Andrew Key

Andrew Key

Product Manager, Inspection Technologies at Matthews Australasia
Andrew Key has over 25 years’ experience with packaging machinery, inspection technologies and identification technologies. His career spans across organisations like Alfa Laval, TNA and others; helping manufacturers to effect process improvement using the latest technology from around the globe. In his current role as the Business Development Manager for Inspection technologies at Matthews Australasia, he is constantly looking at cutting edge technologies for our customers to improve quality control. Andrew grew up in the country and loves the outdoors. In his spare time he enjoys sailing, snow skiing, water skiing, bushwalking and camping.
Andrew Key

by Andrew Key

Andrew Key has over 25 years’ experience with packaging machinery, inspection technologies and identification technologies. His career spans across organisations like Alfa Laval, TNA and others; helping manufacturers to effect process improvement using the latest technology from around the globe. In his current role as the Business Development Manager for Inspection technologies at Matthews Australasia, he is constantly looking at cutting edge technologies for our customers to improve quality control. Andrew grew up in the country and loves the outdoors. In his spare time he enjoys sailing, snow skiing, water skiing, bushwalking and camping.

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