All eyes are on Tyson this week after their recall of chicken nuggets with a trace of plastics. Unfortunately, it’s not just the makers of highly processed foods that are struggling with recalls right now.
As April unfolds, we see that the organic food industry is not immune either:
- Three purveyors of organic black peppercorns here, here and here have also announced recalls this week.
- And, the real shocker is this one: Tea Tree Oil mouthwash is recalled because of bacterial contamination, despite the many websites and even an NIH article touting tea tree oil’s antibacterial properties!
Traceability of the root cause is difficult for both contaminated food and hazardous consumer products, as the recent Fitbit Force recall shows. There still doesn’t seem to be an answer as to what material in the wristbands caused so many users to break out in a rash.
As the following infographic shows, foodborne illness is a serious issue, and some companies are better than others at weathering a recall crisis. As we have said in earlier blog posts, social media has been a real game changer during recent recall crises, in ways both positive (providing a way to tap into rising consumer concerns to spot quality issues early) and negative (the viral consumer frustration response at any lag in response or mis-step during a recall crisis).
In earlier posts here and here, we talked about how social media is changing the game when it comes to consumer recalls. I just took a peek at the FDA enforcement report in my inbox, and all I can say is that it will help motivate my January diet resolutions…
Today, let’s take a look at another key part of the recall readiness toolkit: traceability. Over on FoodDive, the Traceability playbook describes six key advantages of implementing a comprehensive, modern traceability system:
- Operational visibility that extends into your supply chain so that you can verify quality of raw materials
- Rapid training of a multi-lingual workforce, because modern systems eliminate the need for language skills by relying on barcode scanning
- Providing a foundation for improving operational efficiency by making it easier to find bottlenecks and address sourced of confusion
- Through integration with CRM and social media, a modern traceability system enables tailored responses to inbound social media complaints and concerns, so that you can get a head start on recalls and find the source of the quality issue more quickly
- Enables you to meet growing consumer desire for non-ingredient attributes of your products, for things like non-GMO, free-range, fair trade, etc.
- You can issue targeted (as opposed to blanket recalls) to address quality issues, because you can trace your raw materials and packaging as well as the employees and production equipment who touched a particular lot
Diligent, cross-functional process modeling, coupled with modern traceability systems, can make or break you, if you are suddenly in a recall situation. Are you ready?