Guest Column | April 21, 2017

Recall Communications — How To Interact Effectively With The FDA


By Justin Prochnow, Greenberg Traurig

Unfortunately, food recalls aren’t a matter of “if one happens,” they are a matter of “when one happens.” And when one happens to your company, will you be able to quickly and effectively communicate it with the FDA? This article will illustrate the recall process and offer suggestions to help you get through it.

Recalls of food, beverage, and supplement products have become an all-too frequent occurrence of late. In the first three months of 2017, notices for 108 recalls were posted on the FDA’s 2017 Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts database. Posted recalls include products ranging from sweet peas and cheese potentially contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes to products with undeclared food allergens, such as soy and peanuts. In many situations, the company announcing the recall did not create the issue necessitating the recall, unwittingly using an ingredient from a supplier that was allegedly safe for use, only to find out after shipping out products that ingredient tested positive for a pathogen or contains a previously undeclared allergen. However, regardless of fault, companies may be faced with the necessity of initiating and conducting a “voluntary recall.” In such situations, strong and effective communications with the FDA Recall Coordinator, and other FDA personnel, will go a long way toward making the recall process as smooth as possible. Additionally, it will allow the company to complete the recall expeditiously and move on to more positive endeavors.