Product Recall Service Passes 500 Subscribers Milestone In One Year

Rapid Recall Exchange enjoys fast growth as retailers and food suppliers sign on.

Lawrenceville, NJ: More than 500 food retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers have subscribed to Rapid Recall Exchange, an online service introduced by major grocery associations and a standards organization one year ago.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and GS1 US developed the service to improve on recall notification methods such as e-mail and faxes, which have limited capabilities and are inconsistent and labor-intensive. The service is also supported by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Grocers Association (N.G.A.).

Rapid Recall Exchange enables retailers, wholesalers and suppliers to quickly and efficiently exchange information about food and product recalls and withdrawals.

Publix Super Markets Inc. is one of 100 major retailers that have adopted Rapid Recall Exchange as an integral part of their product-recall strategies and processes. The Florida-based chain has been encouraging its suppliers to join since the service was first developed.

“Rapid Recall Exchange is the most fully featured recall service available, and we would like even more manufacturers to use it,” says Michael Roberson, director of Corporate Quality Assurance for Publix. “Ideally it should be the industry’s primary source for recall communications, so we want and need adoption by the vast majority of our suppliers.”

Rapid Recall Exchange complies with the requirements of the FDA Reportable Food Registry, and features: secure user-authentication; two-way messaging between trading partners; anywhere, anytime Internet access; e-mail and text alerts; comprehensive information on recalled products, with product images for easy identification; and verification of notification, so recalling firms can be sure their trading partners have critical information.

“The fast and wide adoption of Rapid Recall Exchange demonstrates that companies need a standardized, more efficient process for handling product recalls,” says Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and chief executive officer. “We welcome additional subscribers, so they too will benefit from industry collaboration. In the end, it’s all about retailers and suppliers improving the recall process and keeping the food supply safe for our customers.”

The four not-for-profit organizations operate the service on a cost-recovery basis, enabling nominal subscription fees that are tiered for companies of all sizes.

“With food safety a priority issue for both consumers and the industry, we are working to make product recalls faster and more comprehensive while making sure the information reaches all retailers regardless of their size," says Bob Carpenter, president and CEO of GS1 US. “Five hundred subscribers in a year is a great start, and we’ll continue to increase this number and enhance the service in the interest of business efficiency and consumer safety.”

“Consumer safety is the number one priority of food and consumer product manufacturers,” says GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey. “The growth of Rapid Recall Exchange demonstrates that GMA member companies are embracing it as a valuable tool in their vast portfolio to better serve consumers and protect public health.”