Traceability is a key component of a recall, but plant operators often conduct traceability drills and consider them mock recalls, points out Stephanie Lopez, a HACCP coordinator with AIB International. An effective recall drill also should:

  • Confirm that recall team contact information is current
  • Verify that appropriate press release templates are available for the drill scenario and that the responsible person knows how to use them
  • Identify the names and phone numbers of customers who need to be contacted and confirm their accuracy with a customer-service call
  • Identify regulators who need to be contacted and their phone numbers if the recall scenario occurred
  • Identify actions such as lab tests, warehousing and additional trucking that would be necessary
  • Gather relevant production records for the issue, such as cook times and temperatures and metal detector calibrations and results
  • Estimate amount of product still in the marketplace
  • Assess the health risks to consumers.

Tracing needs to be a team activity and not the responsibility of one individual, Lopez adds. The team should have access to but need not include administrative assistants to collect records and access electronic databases. Team alternates for specific duties need to be in place, and someone must be designated to document activities for regulators.