What to do when facing a risk situation in Food Safety
Although it is not desirable, it may happen that in the normal activity of a food company or industry a situation is generated that poses a risk to the health of consumers or in which food safety is compromised by any circumstance.
For these cases, it is very important that the responsible company knows the scope of its obligations and responsibilities in this case so that it acts as efficiently and quickly as possible, always in line with current legislation and thus minimizing possible risks.
In such a situation, it may occur, either through a complaint from a consumer, through information provided by its supplier or because it discovers certain information within the framework of an action by surveillance or internal control, that the food bussiness operator may be aware of the existence of a risk situation that affects any of the products it sells or for which it is responsible.
For this case, Regulation 178/2002 establishes in its article 19 the responsibilities that food business operators have with respect to food and it is established that in the event of non-compliance with the food safety requirements that this operator imports , produces, transforms, manufactures or distributes, must immediately withdraw these products from the market and shall inform the competent authorities accordingly.
Thus, it is very important to know that you are always obliged to carry out both prevention and information on the situation for its optimal management.
The competent authorities will generally be those that correspond to the operator's registered office, thus falling under the food safety powers of each region, at least this is how it works in Spain.
When communicating this existence of a risk situation or its possibility, as much data as possible will be given about the responsible company, the product affected, the lot affected, number of units, existing problem, traceability and measures adopted, among others, so that facilitating the understanding of the problem is as wide as possible, as well as its scope.
From what is established in article 19, not only is the obligation to inform, but it is just as important as immediate action. In this sense, food operators using their corresponding Autocontrol Systems, and in particular in their specific traceability control plan, will proceed to identify the affected product batch or batches, locate it and proceed to its recovery and withdrawal from the market to minimize risks to consumer health. At this point, collaboration between all the actors in this chain is essential to coordinate actions.
These measures must be carried out with the best possible criteria, although all the actions that the authorities foresee or demand will also be carried out, once they have knowledge of the situation, and must cooperate at all times.
In case of a situation of this type, from LexSupplements you can count on the help and advice necessary to manage it in the best possible way.