Our team of recall experts starts every day in the same way. A cup of coffee, a quick scan of the newspapers and then onto the RASFF portal for a bird’s eye view of what’s going on regarding recalls across Europe in the food and drink sector.
Usually, at this time of year, there is a surge of recalls in bivalve and molluscs because demand across the Mediterranean is high. However, at the time of writing, there were only two recordings noted on the RASFF portal in this product category.
Interestingly, the number of alerts relating to cereal and bakery products has already reached a total of four — and we expect that figure to double by the end of the month.
Notifying countries included Hungary, Portugal, Germany and Luxembourg. The reasons varied from fungus and mold to the presence of metal fragments. Two of these consignments were deemed a serious risk. All four were withdrawn from the market or recalled from consumers.
Europe is one of the world’s largest cereal producers and traders. Around 20% of the EU’s wheat crops are exported annually, but oilseeds, animal feedstuff and rice are imported in large quantities.
The cereal market, in particular, is expected to reach 320 million tonnes in 2030 — compared to 312 million tonnes for 2019. Moreover, exports are expected to increase due to enhanced competition at a global level, with rising production in the Black Sea region (EU agricultural outlook 2019-2030). This will no doubt have an impact on the volume of recalls in this category across Europe and the rest of the world.ƒ
RASFF no longer goes into detail around the manufacturers or brands accountable for the products, which helps protect the reputations of those involved. However, when these products make their way onto supermarket shelves the brands hit the headlines.
Retailers are quick to act upon recalls and have finessed best practices in the discipline. A recent example is Mondelez UK who issued a recall alert on its Christmas-themed treats as it had been incorrectly packed with Daim chocolate — a health risk to anyone with a nut allergy.
The company worked with supermarkets across the UK to withdraw the treats from shelves because they could contain undeclared almonds, which were not mentioned on the label. Mondelez UK assured retailers and consumers that no other products were affected.
The company’s quick actions meant its brand reputation remained unscathed, and consumers and retailers knew exactly what to do with their product. Recalls happen all the time — but the biggest issues arise for businesses when they do not have a clear plan in place for dealing with them.