Severe Weather Events Pose Recall Risks
Winter storm Saturn hit the Midwest and East Coast with snow and sleet, but unfortunately, the storm did little to end the ongoing drought in the Midwest. The drought’s effects can been seen not only in diminished crop yields, but also in food product recalls as food toxins can occur in drought conditions. As spring planting season approaches, fears of continued drought conditions could again pose a threat to food producers who rely on affected crops such as wheat and corn.
An example can be found in recent pet food recalls. Corn, a common ingredient in pet and livestock food, is more likely to become moldy and contain aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxin that can cause serious illness or even death if consumed, during a drought. While human exposure to aflatoxin is rare, several pet and livestock food products were recalled because of the concerns over potentially contaminated corn.
Recent weather events such as hurricane Sandy, winter storms Nemo and Saturn, and the severe drought in nearly half the country bring attention to the changing climate and the affects it can have on industry supply chains. Research suggests that severe weather events are occurring with greater frequency, and these events have an impact on crops. Pet and livestock feed are only one example of food products affected by the adjusting climate, and companies must continue to be vigilant with not only their own products, but also with their suppliers’ products.
In addition to paying attention to their supply chains, food manufacturers can also focus on designing a strong recall plan to deal with any and all recalls resulting from supply or ingredient issues. The changing climate’s effects on agricultural products and ingredients are both unpredictable and unavoidable. Therefore, it is critical for companies to prepare for future recalls. Assessments of previous recalls, mock recall simulations and recall leadership trainings are all ways to establish and execute a successful recall strategy.
What other issues do you forecast climate change will have on food safety and recalls? We welcome your thoughts and comments below.
Stericycle ExpertRECALL™ is the industry leader in recall logistics and regulatory compliance for consumer product, pharmaceutical, medical device, juvenile product, and food and beverage recalls. ExpertRECALL’s professionals are experts in recall management who can help you streamline the entire product recall process.