How to safeguard your brand from product recalls

As a manufacturer, the last thing you want to do is recall a product after it has been rolled out to the public. Unfortunately, this isn’t an eventuality that can always be avoided. While a recall does often cause damage to a brand’s reputation, having the right systems and response plans in place can mitigate this. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to safeguard your brand from the effects of product recalls, especially in the food manufacturing industry. 


Why safeguarding against product recalls is important 

A product recall, whereby a manufacturer requests the temporary removal and return of a product, can have serious consequences for their brand. It often means safety concerns have been raised against the product which put the manufacturer at risk of legal action. Recalls can happen due to products being mislabelled or featuring incorrect designs as well. 

Perhaps the most damaging aspect of a product recall is its negative effect on consumer confidence. People are likely to be less trusting of a brand and its products once they become aware of a product recall. This can have a knock-on financial impact on the company, leading to a drop in share price and losses in sales revenue. 

Product liability claims, where consumers have suffered personal injury or damage to property, are similar. However, the effects of a product recall typically manifest far more quickly. As a result, even the most established and well-regarded brand can be laid low by a series of product recalls. 

Causes of product recall in food production engineering 

The makers and sellers of products can be affected by product recalls in a wide range of industries. Although, some are more prone to product recalls due to the nature of the products being provided and the role they serve. The recalls most often seen in the media are associated with vehicle manufacturers.  

Another common example is businesses that produce and serve food to consumers. These businesses can be faced with product recalls due to the following reasons: 

  • Unspecified allergy risks. 
  • Products failing to meet certain food standards. 
  • Quality defects. 
  • Disease or contamination risk due to an incident. 
  • Alleged or substantiated consumer harm. 


How to safeguard against product recalls 

Safeguarding your brand from product recalls does not mean taking preventative measures. Of course, it would be ideal if it were possible to guarantee no product was ever recalled. With large scale food production however, some product recalls are almost unavoidable. As such, these recommendations largely consist of additional controls, strategies, and information designed to deal with recalls when they happen. 

Be transparent 

Product recalls have the potential to attract a significant amount of media attention. In these cases, it can often be more damaging for companies to say nothing. Therefore, when you first become aware of the need for a recall, you should make an announcement. This should provide accurate details of the product, including the reasons behind its recall. By doing this, you remove any need for speculation. Your brand should then also acknowledge any mistakes made and make an apology. 

Identify and assess risks 

Product recalls occur due to risks to the company and its consumers. As such, product recalls can generally be grouped into the following three categories: 

  • Safety issues 
  • Quality issues 
  • Legal compliance concerns 

Every product should have an associated risk assessment. This means when an individual product is recalled, the manufacturer can refer to a document that’s designed to identify the exact reason why. The risk assessment can then also be used to help inform the recall response. For instance, products that have been recalled for high-risk reasons warrant a more severe response. 

Have an effective recall plan 

Handling the recall of product involves many considerations. As such, it is necessary to put a step-by-step plan in place. An effective product recall plan should clearly assign roles among different departments, thereby distributing resources efficiently. Working quickly, especially in an industry such as food manufacturing, can help prevent the loss of resources due to a product recall. For example, donating incorrectly packaged food to charity can safeguard the brand at the same time. 

It is also important that companies make regular updates to their recall response plans. For instance, to account for new products or regulations that are introduced into the market. This helps ensure your product recall happens as smoothly as possible. It can also help recover some lost brand reputation by signalling to consumers that you value customer experience. 

Train employees 

All employees should be given access to the company product recall plan and given appropriate training. This ensure everyone is aware of what their responsibilities are within the overall process of the recall. Conducting realistic mock recalls are one of the best ways to prepare workers. It helps them visualise how the plan will be put into action, whilst also helping to identify the areas possible risks might develop.


Expert factory design consultants 

If you’re looking for professional advice on any of the brand safeguarding measures mentioned above, FESS is happy to help. We can examine any part of your factory and its operation to ensure you’re prepared for any product risks. The scope of our services can range from a single food conveyor belt to your entire factory capabilities. Contact us today for a free on-site survey. 

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