Product recall - Getting it right Leeds 10

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Presentation by Eversheds' partner Richard Matthews at a recent food and drink seminar in Leeds September 14th 2012. Presentation is entitled Product recall - Getting it right.

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Product recall - Getting it right Leeds 10

  1. 1. Product recall‘’Get-it right’Richard Matthews, Partner14 September 2012
  2. 2. Legislative framework: Criminal• Food Safety Act 1990 – Section 7 (rendering food injurious to health) – Section 14 (food not of nature / substance / quality demanded)• General Food Law Regulations EC/178/2002• Due diligence defence
  3. 3. General Food Law RegulationsEC/178/2002• Article 14 (placing unsafe food on market)• Food deemed unsafe if: – injurious to health – unfit for human consumption• Article 16 (labelling / advertising shall not mislead)• Article 18 (one up: one down traceability)• Article 19 (withdrawal / recall of unsafe food) – notify authorities – co-operate with authorities
  4. 4. Civil claims• Part I, Consumer Protection Act 1987• Breach of contract – raw material specification – express terms (“compliance with all relevant UK/EU food legislation”) – implied terms under Sale of Goods Act 1979 • compliance with description • reasonably fit for purpose • satisfactory quality• Negligence
  5. 5. Food related incidents are on the increaseacross Europe 4000notifications (RASFF)EU - total number of 3800 3600 3400 3200 3000 2800 2600 2400 2200 2000 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
  6. 6. ....and in the UK also Total number of FSA incidents 1800 1700Recorded incidents 1600 1500 1400 (UK) 1300 1200 1100 1000 900 800 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
  7. 7. What are the reasons?Breakdown of FSA incidents by category, 2007 – 2011 Category 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 (%) (%) (%) (%) (%)Environmental contamination 17.2 14.3 17.4 22.7 20.8(fires/sewage/heavy metal etc)Natural chemical contamination 16.4 17.7 12.4 15.1 16.6(aflatoxins/algal toxins etc)Microbiological contamination 12.4 14.3 18.0 18.0 16.4(Salmonella/Ecoli/Listeria etc)On-farm (heavy metal poisoning/ 12.2 10.7 11.9 8.1 7.8botulism etc)Physical contamination 9.4 8.5 4.6 7.7 5.4(metal/pests/glass etc)Labelling / documentation 6.3 9.7 6.4 6.3 7.0Allergens (milk/gluten/nuts etc) 6.6 6.5 7.1 5.2 6.7
  8. 8. Key points of interest• 1,714 food incidents were investigated by the FSA last year, compared to 1,505 in 2010• Microbiological contamination (e.g. Salmonella or Ecoli) is up• There has been a big increase in FSA investigations sparked by whistleblowers
  9. 9. Why the increase?• Tighter legislation/regulation• FSA and other regulatory bodies are getting tougher and conducting more testing• Reporting of incidents is increasing (i.e. whistle- blowing etc)But some instances can still be avoided e.g. mislabelling
  10. 10. Product risk management: minimisethe risk of a recall• Assess risks at each stage of product’s life• Supplier audits• Audit compliance with regulations• Batch marking / traceability• Beware changes in supplier / specification“An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure” Benjamin Franklin
  11. 11. Product recall planning: prepare forthe worst• Up-to-date list of relevant contacts• Train customer service staff• Establish a major incident team• PR strategy and spokesperson• Establish systems for monitoring the recall
  12. 12. Recall practicalities• Small crisis team• Compliance with insurance terms• Contemporaneous record keeping• Trained spokesperson• Q&As• Clear language in notifications• Liaison with FSA• Capture costs at time• Don’t create damaging documents
  13. 13. The impact of Social Media: Casestudies• Plum Organics (US) – Organic baby food – Mixing error at factory leading to Botulism scare – Voluntary recall utilising Facebook and Twitter Outcome: – Company maintained reputation – Concerned customers were able to engage with the company quickly and directly – On Facebook many of the comments were positive. Customers were grateful for easily accessible information and transparency
  14. 14. Case studies continuedMaple Leaf Foods (Canada) – Meat products• Listeria outbreak – 21 deaths – recall of 243 ready to eat meat products• External company blog launched to engage with consumers and discuss Listeria and other food safety concerns• New website www.mapleleafaction.com to inform the public about steps to improve food safetyOutcome:• Company survived and restored its damaged reputation and regained market share
  15. 15. Case studies continuedBritvic – Fruit Shoot recall (UK)• Fruit Shoot brand valued at £96m• Recall due to concerns with lid, which was a potential choking hazardOutcome:• No social media utilised despite having a company Twitter account• Estimated impact of recall - £25 million
  16. 16. Case studies continuedDole foods (US)• Salad product with risk of Salmonella• Company had Facebook and Twitter accounts but failed to utilise them effectively• Posting information regarding competitions/promotions instead of recall information• Outcome:• Concerned consumers’ post on company’s Facebook page – lack of response, leading to frustration and a lack of information damaging the brand
  17. 17. Social Media: Lessons learned• Social media should be used in conjunction with more traditional methods (i.e. press releases/advertisements)• Social media (Twitter/Facebook etc) can be a quick, effective and inexpensive way of getting your message out• Using social media can counteract the problems faced when recall messages get misinterpreted and incorrect information is disseminated• Can be highly damaging to brand if don’t react• A threat but potential opportunity
  18. 18. Summary: Key points• Recalls are increasing in the UK and Europe• Put measures in place to minimise the risk of a recall• Prepare and rehearse recall plan• Social media can play a key role in a successful recall
  19. 19. Any Questions?

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