SILVER SPRING, MD. — On March 3, the US Food and Drug Administration announced its finalized guidance on voluntary recalls. The administration’s guidelines are meant to help companies, including those in the pet food industry, prepare and effectively remove contaminated products from the market.

The FDA’s guidelines are part of its Foodborne Outbreak Response Improvement Plan, which was released in Dec. 2021. The final guidance, under the Initiation of Voluntary Recalls Under 21 CFR part 7, subpart C, features steps companies can take to develop recall policies and procedures, which include training, planning and tips on record-keeping.

The Initiation of Voluntary Recalls includes advice on managing proper product coding, maintaining distribution records and using electronic communications to identify product information needed for recalls. The guide also encourages quick action when initiating a recall, and to do so prior to finishing a product investigation.

Product recalls can affect more than just the product’s manufacturer, including downstream suppliers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers and others, which is why the administration recommends the development of procedures that quickly inform the entire affected supply and distribution chains.

“Voluntary recalls continue to be the fastest, most effective way for a company to correct or remove violative and potentially harmful products from the market to help keep consumers safe,” said Judith McMeekin, associate commissioner of regulatory affairs, FDA. “It is critical that all companies in the supply chain are 'recall ready' to ensure appropriate actions are taken swiftly across the distribution channels to best protect public health and the integrity of the supply chain. We will continue to work with companies to improve their recall procedures and minimize Americans’ exposure to potentially harmful products.”

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