AUSTRALIA'S food recall system has been found wanting
Posted: November 19th, 2010 - 2:33pm
Source: The Australian
Produce infected with hepatitis A and a bacterial skin contamination has proved untraceable.
The Australian National Audit Office yesterday called for a more immediate and thorough response to trade recalls after revealing regulatory failure had left public health at risk twice last year.
In October last year, 70 per cent of semi-dried tomatoes potentially infected with hepatitis A was not recovered.
A month earlier, 55 per cent of pawpaws with a bacterial skin contamination was never traced.
In both cases, no public notice was required because it was treated as a trade-level recall, which focuses on recovering products from distributors or wholesalers. Consumer recalls, on the other hand, recover the product from all points in the production and distribution chain.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand co-ordinates such recalls but has no power to request a report from the companies involved on the results of their efforts to trace contaminated produce.