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Food Safety: Food Recalls

A food recall is defined as ‘an action taken to remove from distribution, sale and consumption, food which may pose a health and safety risk to consumers'.

A food recall may be initiated as a result of reports referred from a variety of sources - manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, medical practitioners, government agencies (for example, a health authority) and consumers.

Food recall plan

In Australia, there is a legal requirement for businesses to have in place a system by which they can recall unsafe food, and to set out this system in a written recall plan. This is very important because recalls handled in appropriately can endanger consumers, result in extra costs to the manfuacturer and could leave the manufacturer open to legal action.

For an overview, download an Adobe PDF copy of the Food Recall Plan for Small Business (59 KB PDF) from the South Australia Department of Health.

Businesses can download a guide to writing a food recall plan and conducting a food recall from the Food Standards Australia New Zealand web site.

A printed copy of the FSANZ guide can be obtained by contacting FSANZ on 1300 652 166 or by e-mailing

Food recall alert subscription service

If you wish to receive Food Recall Alerts via email, you can subscribe directly to alerts from the Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Visit the FSANZ subscription information page on the FSANZ web site.