The 5 Steps Involved in a Food Recall

product recall checklist

Acting quickly can fend off product liability claims

In 2015, USDA recalled approximately 150 food products. The CPSC averages one recall every day. But mandatory food recalls are rare; most recalls originate with the company that produces the food product.  The CDC and other reporting systems of FDA-regulated products can also recommend a food product recall.

It’s important to act quickly once its determined that a food product should be recalled for safety issues in order to prevent product liability claims by consumers. Consumer injury claims can result in costly compensations and even lawsuits for everyone involved in the distribution chain.

Below are the five steps that typically make up a food product recall:

  1. The appropriate authorities are notified of the intended recall by the maker or distributor of the product. Consumer hotlines are established where information can be obtained regarding the recall’s scope, including serial/batch numbers, where the product was sold, etc.
  2. Announcements of the recall are released on the appropriate government agency websites, the product maker’s website, in paid notices in print media, and, if necessary, in television and radio news broadcasts.
  3. Consumer groups also typically notify the public when learning of food recalls.
  4. In most cases, consumers are advised to return the product to the seller for a full refund or replacement.
  5. Consumer compensation varies according to the specific laws that govern consumer trade protection following an investigation into what triggered the recall.


If you manufacture, distribute, package or sell food products, it’s highly recommended that you carry Product Recall Insurance. Don’t get caught by surprise by the costs that you can incur in a recall even if no consumer claims are made. For more information on Product Recall Insurance and the coverage it provides, please click here.

Source: Andy Knight. “What Goes Into a Food Recall?” 06 July, 2016.
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