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Food Safety Practices – Food Recalls 101

Recalls 101Product Recalls are complex events, to put it mildly. Due to the urgent nature of recalls, people can be misinformed about required processes and procedures in the heat of the moment. To prevent mistakes from happening, here is a list of Recall Tips to keep handy during a recall event that will help guide you smoothly through to the end. Being informed of the procedures ahead of time can help eliminate unnecessary stress and errors.


Participating in Recalls

Performance Foodservice distribution centers never issues product recalls, we participate in them. If you get a recall notice from Performance Foodservice, it is because we have been notified by a supplier of a product recall; if we are not notified by a supplier of a recall, then Performance Foodservice and our customers are not a part of the recall.

Recalls come in many types and varieties

Because not all recalls are created equal, here is an official list of recall types along with two other definitions that are often confused with recalls:

  • Class 1 Recall: Illness, perhaps death, is reasonably probably if exposed to product
  • Class 2 Recall: Temporary and reversible illness is remotely probably if exposed to product
  • Class 3 Recall: No adverse health effects are likely if exposed to product
  • Market Withdrawal: Usually issued for quality not safety purposes; product may be corrected
  • Product Hold: This is a step in the recall process

Simple, efficient communications

During a recall, every second counts when getting the word out. Communications during a recall should be short and to the point. Our recall communications will always include the following information:

  • Supplier Item Number
  • Distributor Item Number
  • Product Description
  • All Case and Label Codes (manufacturer code, Best/Use By Date, Lot Code, Pack Date, etc.)
  • Sale/Invoice Date
  • Quantity Shipped
  • Instructions for disposal and credit
  • Contact person for Question

No news is good news

Performance Foodservice will only notify customers who receive recalled product. Due to the time and effort needed to complete the recall process, sending notices to customers who have “safe/non-recalled product” is impractical and only slows down the more urgently needed communications to our at-risk customers.  In the event you are not contacted by Performance Foodservice during a recall event, you may assume the product you have is safe to serve.


Many recalls happen too late

Unfortunately, recalled product sometimes is prepared and eaten before a recall is even issued; this is usually due to the length of time it takes for illnesses to be reported. When a recall happens after product is consumed, there is hope that safe cooking procedures could possibly eradicate the microbiological agent, or that high-risk people were not exposed to the unsafe food and the immune systems of healthy people did not allow the disease to progress.  

We value your recall questions and suggestions

Making the recall process better is a good thing for everyone. We welcome any and all questions or suggestions which will help Performance Foodservice improve the recall process so our customers are confident we are doing everything we can to protect their businesses and their guests.