Recalls - Questions & answers

How do I report a food product problem?

If your concern relates to a food product that you have purchased, please contact MPI on 0800 693 721, or by email:

When is it decided that a product should be recalled?

A recall can be initiated in a number of ways, including:

  • manufacturer discovers a problem through internal checking systems
  • advice from overseas authorities
  • customer complaint to the seller or MPI

Recalls can also occur as a result of regular monitoring carried out by MPI as part of its Total Diet Survey and the Food Residue Surveillance Programme.

Who makes the decision to recall a product?

When a food business discovers a problem with a product they sell, and that some or all of the affected product is no longer within their control, they must consider the risk that the food may pose to the public and if required, recall the product.

All recalls are coordinated with MPI in accordance with strict guidelines. MPI must be satisfied that all reasonable steps are being taken to protect consumers.

In most instances the manufacturer of the product to be recalled will inform and work with their local MPI Food Act Officer to find the size and extent of the problem with support from technical staff at MPI.

How does a recall work?

When a problem product has been distributed beyond the warehouse to consumers, then the manufacturer must advise or warn those customers who may have food in their home. The decision on how best to do this is taken in consultation with MPI. When a decision to issue a recall is made, warnings can be placed in the media, usually newspapers, and at locations where the product has been sold.
A recall notice must be signed off by MPI and must, if it is to run as a newspaper advertisement, follow strict guidelines regarding the size, presentation and position as well as the information to be included.

Please see here for information about a trade recall vs a consumer recall.

What does a recall notice look like?

A recall notice must display the following information:

  • who is recalling the product
  • what the product is
  • what’s wrong with it
  • a ‘do not consume’ message
  • a health warning and action
  • where the product may have been purchased
  • what action should be taken
  • who to contact for enquiries.

What role does MPI play in the recall process?

MPI Food Act Officers work with food businesses to decide whether a recall is necessary, with support from technical experts at MPI. MPI has a role in co-coordinating national recalls that may affect more than one food and/or more than one business.

In addition, MPI is obliged to report food incidents to other (overseas) regulatory authorities in cases where unsafe food has been exported.