The holiday season is a time for friends and family to get together, celebrate and enjoy a meal.
Given this, and given the relatively high amount of food recalls that occurred in Australia in 2018, what better time to take a snap shot of food recalls in Australia.
In 2018 Australia saw more than 50 notable food recalls, the most notorious of which being the needles in strawberries scare.
But, in reality, the proportion of food that has to be taken from the supermarket shelves due to contamination is minuscule.
The key is getting timely and accurate advice when a recall does occur.
Officially, recalls occur at the hands of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). FSANZ classify eight circumstances which they deem unsafe for food to remain on shelves but most fall into five categories:
- Where undeclared allergens are present.
- Food contaminated with microbial pathogens.
- Where foreign matter has been found (plastics, glass, metals) in food packaging.
- Incorrect labelling.
- Chemically contaminated foods.
Generally speaking, it is up to the companies recalling the food to notify consumers of recalls through mainstream media channels and the internet.
However, there are also other easily accessible avenues that offer food safety information to the consumer.
- the FSANZ website
- the ACCC product safety website
- allergy and anaphylaxis Australia’s alerts webpage
- CHOICE food recall webpage
If you’ve bought a product that you know has been recalled either dispose of it as rubbish or return it for a refund.
Moreover, if you’ve ingested a recalled product and have fallen ill, seek medical attention immediately.
Dean Frith is a lawyer and partner at Baker Love Lawyers