By Allergen Bureau

Preventing allergen recalls by avoiding ‘Never Events’

Global management consultancy RQA Group maintain that up to half of all food and drink recalls caused by allergens could be prevented by avoiding ‘Never Events’. The term is borrowed from the healthcare sector, where Never Events are defined as “adverse events that are serious, largely preventable, and of concern to both the public and health care providers for the purpose of public accountability”.

In assessing food recall data, RQA Group found in 2020, 46 per cent of all food recalls reported by the UK Food Standards Agency could be classed as Never Events as they had labelling or packaging errors. This rose to 48 per cent in the first 6 months of 2021. In the US, 18 per cent of food recall events reported by the FDA in 2020 could be classed as Never Events and between January and June 2021, it was 16 per cent.

RQA Group is working with food manufacturers to apply the Never Event approach to reduce the number of product recalls. As part of this campaign, they recently produc­ed an article highlighting what food manufacturers can do to reduce these wholly preventable, dangerous and costly recalls.

According to RQA Group, the key to preventing these Never Events is to identify specific risk areas within food manufacturing where Never Event recalls originate and eliminate those risks by taking specific actions.