Q&A: Ag Recall Planning, Part 2

Find answers to questions about dealing with ag recall planning.

 

In our last blog, we shared Duda Farm’s steps for ag recall planning taken from a GrowingProduce.com article. If there are further questions about recall planning, they would likely be answered by the subsequent Q&A with Duda’s Vice President of Food Safety and Sustainability, Amy Duda Kinder. Read below as she talks about the value of Duda’s mock recalls below.

Recall Planning Q&A

 

Q: Will you describe how your mock recalls work?

Duda Kinder: The purpose of a mock recall is to evaluate our food safety system and validate our capabilities to expediently remove product from the market place, or, better yet, before it reaches the marketplace. Just like any safety drill, practicing a recall helps us build and maintain an effective team and process.

Our mock recall scenarios can be as simple or complex as we need them to be in order to test the various aspects of the recall process. The scenario could involve identifying a particular contaminate or a single production site, or testing one of our distribution networks or customer relationships.

Mock recalls also test our communications systems both internally and externally. Our internal communication system test looks at how well our multi-disciplinary working groups, such as food safety, legal, risk management, communications, harvest, sales, shipping, production, etc., efficiently communicate, and effectively achieve the shared goal of protecting the consumer. Our external communication/notification system test validates how well we work with our customers, regulatory agencies, and industry partners.

Q: How often do you run the mock recalls? And when did you first start using them?

Duda Kinder: It is advised to test your system semi-annually or when process changes occur. Since our business model requires us to move to and from multiple growing and shipping locations, we test at every move.

Q: Who all is involved with the mock recalls? And who isn’t involved?

Duda Kinder: It’s important to identify a recall team at each location/production area. The team should include members of the operation that are engaged in all aspects of the production of the food: location management, quality assurance and control, maintenance, grow, harvest, shipping and sales. Depending on the complexity of the mock recall test, the team also may include executive management and corporate service departments such as risk management, legal, and communications. Additionally, external contact lists are kept up-to-date to facilitate effective communication.

If the product is from an outside grower, supplier, or shipping point, all the involved parties will participate in the drill. In this case, the mock drill allows for us to test the effectiveness of our external communications system.

Q: You mentioned that no one knows if the recall is real or not at the time of the drill. Why is that?

Duda Kinder: On occasion, we have internally set up recall drills with only one food safety representative aware it was a mock. We find it is a very effective way to evaluate our system under the “pressure-cooker” scenario of what appears to be a real event. However, not all of our mock recall tests are conducted this way, and we wouldn’t include outside communication tests in this type
of scenario.

Q: What benefits does Duda gain from these mock recalls?

Duda Kinder: We learn something every time we do a mock recall. Each mock recall event leads to a new understanding and process improvements. Every member of our company has a role to play in food safety and the mock exercises reinforce the shared responsibility and importance of collaboration.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.