Section 28(1) of FSS Act, 2006 stipulates that if a food business operator considers or has reasons to believe that a food which he has processed, manufactured or distributed is not in compliance with this Act, or the rules or regulations, made thereunder, he shall immediately initiate procedures to withdraw the foodin question from the market and consumers indicating reasons for its withdrawal and inform the competent authorities thereof.
Recall can be defined as an action to remove food products from market at any stage of the food chain, including that possessed by consumer, which may pose a threat to the public health or food that violate the Act, or the rules or regulations made thereunder. Recall of food product is in the common interest of the industry, the government and in particular the consumer. Recalls afford equal consumer protection but generally are more efficient and timelier than formal administrative or civil actions, especially when the product has been widely distributed.
Steps to be followed in process of Food recall system:
1. Every food business operator shall follow food recall procedure including complete process of recall, post-recall report, and follow-up action in order to ensure the effectiveness of the recall and prevent recurrence.
2. The food business operator shall initiate a recall process to fulfill his responsibility in accordance with section 28 of the Act.
3. The Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India or the Commissioner of Food Safety of the State or Union territory or both (may be referred as “The Authority”) may direct the food business operator to initiate the recall process.
4. The recall process shall also be initiated as a result of reports or complaints referred to the food business operator from any stakeholder and if food business operator determines that there is a need to recall. In case the food business operator does not respond to the complaint, the complainant or the consumer may inform The Authority who will take steps to determine the need for recall and instruct the concerned food business operator regarding the recall, who shall be bound by such instructions.
5. It is the responsibility of all the food business operators in the entire food chain to implement the instructions relating to food recall. Failure to do so shall render the food business operator liable to action as provided under the Act or the rules or regulations made thereunder.
6. When a food business operator refuses to undertake a recall directed by the The Authority or The Authority has sufficient reasons to believe that additional measures would be required to make the recall effective, or determines that a recall is ineffective, or has a reason to believe that unsafe food is continuing to be manufactured by food business operator, The Authority will take appropriate action as provided under the Act, rules or regulations made thereunder and the food business operator shall be liable for such action.
7. A recall of imported food may also be initiated on the basis of reports of health and food authorities, or from information received from such authorities or if it otherwise comes to the notice of the concerned authority.
8. The initiation of food recall shall not preclude The Authority from taking further regulatory action against the concerned food business operator as may be required under the Act.
The food business operator shall submit information as specified under Schedule I to the concerned Authority immediately but not exceeding twenty-four hours from the time it comes to his notice.