Close to perfect product recall system

Publication date: 09.12.2012

Author: Mungi Sohn, Ph.D

Every food safety agency has made efforts to ensure safe food products are in the market. However, adul-terated or misbranded food products get into the market for any number of reasons, and manufactur-ers or governments recognize that food products in-appropriate for consumption are on the shelves.

Depending on the seriousness of the threat to public health, a recall may be voluntary, requested or man-dated by the government agency. 

Between initiation and completion of the recall, it takes time for the product to be removed from the all retailers shelves. Meanwhile, these products may be obtained by consumers. The goal of the re-call is to get adulterated and misbranded food products away from the consumer. The Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) has made smart move to achieve this goal.

The Korean Government, together with retail food industries, recently introduced an automatic system to prevent adulterated, misbranded and haz-ardous foods, which are not in compliance with the national food regulations, from being sold to con-sumers at the point-of-sale (POS) in local retail out-lets nationwide. This new „sales block system came into force through the close cooperation of central and local government and food industries; KFDA, local government and certified labora-tories are inter-connected and the results of product testing are instantly notified to the industry database managed by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). If the product is found to be unfit or inappropriate for human consumption by the local laboratories, a message is sent to affiliated industry associates and local stores nationwide within minutes, and the sales of that product prohibited immediately at the POS. Currently, 34,762 local stores representing 28 retail companies, and 15 million consumers, are affiliated with the sales block system. This system protects almost a quarter of the population of Korea and should provide some peace of mind for consumers for safe food shopping. 

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