News & Updates

New guidance and tools for withdrawing or recalling unsafe food

When food placed on the market is considered to be unsafe or incorrectly labelled, it is the food business’s responsibility to withdraw or recall the product. Our new UK guidance, developed in partnership with stakeholders and the FSA, has been designed to help food businesses carry out food safety withdrawals and recalls more effectively.

Ron McNaughton, Head of FSS’s Scottish Food Crime & Incidents Unit said:

“It is our job to make sure people can trust the food they buy and eat, and we urge food businesses to use these tools to help them carry out the necessary steps to make sure food is safe and what it says it is.  Identifying the cause of incidents as soon as possible will help to prevent future food incidents and outbreaks, and is a key priority for Food Standards Scotland.”

Please see our ‘Guidance on Food Traceability, Withdrawals and Recalls within the UK Food Industry’ which explains what the law requires and how to comply, as well as information on: 

  • traceability systems  
  • making a decision on carrying out a withdrawal or recall  
  • roles and responsibilities  
  • the key principles to effectively inform consumers of a food recall  

This project has been delivered in partnership with representatives from the food industry, enforcement authorities and consumer, allergy/ patient support organisations. It is also a key outcome from our joint review of the current withdrawal and recall system with the Food Standards Agency.  

Further information

A withdrawal is the process by which unsafe food is removed from the supply chain, where the food has not reached the consumer.  

A recall is the process by which food that may be unsafe is removed from the supply chain and consumers are advised to take appropriate action, for example to return or dispose of the unsafe food.  

Traceability is the ability to trace food and its’ ingredients through all stages of production.

Root cause analysis is a method that can be used to determine how and why the food safety incident happened, the initial cause and the identification of corrective actions to prevent future incidents occurring. 

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Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit

SFCIU is the dedicated incidents, investigations and intelligence gathering arm of Food Standard Scotland.

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