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FSSAI issues set of guidelines to recall unsafe food products from markets

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a set of guidelines regarding the process to recall food products from markets if found unsafe. It noted that the main purpose behind this is to help food business operators (FBOs) frame a proper recall plan and implement them when the situation demand. Besides, it said that at the time of recall being carried out, the FBO shall submit their detailed recall plan to the CEO, FSSAI. It also said that the concerned company should also inform consumers, depending upon the extent of the recall.

As per the FSSAI, food recalls are essential to remove or correct marketed food products and their labelling that violate the laws administered by the regulatory authority. It also expalined that 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 there under. According to its guidelines, there are 10 steps which must be carried out to ensure a successful recall exercise. It said the key steps are that FBOs need to set up a recall management team, inform the regulator, identify all products to be recalled, detain and segregate products to be recalled which are in the company's control besides verifying the effectiveness of the recall.

The Food safety regulator further said that the recovered product must be stored in an area which is separated from any other food product. It also said that companies must also maintain records of the amount of recovered product and the batch codes of the product recovered. It also said that after recovery, products may be corrected or reprocessed before release to the market if it is fit for human consumption. It noted the companies, which have produced unsafe products, should take steps so that the need for such recalls does not arise again in future.

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