WASHINGTON — It is important that food retailers involved in a product recall “are able to employ a variety of different notification methods based on their capability to reach as many consumers as possible,” said by Mike Ambrosio, vice president, quality assurance, Wakefern Food Corp., Edison, N.J., in testimony here yesterday before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Regulations and Healthcare.
He testified on behalf of Wakefern and the Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va., at the hearing, titled “The Impact of Food Recalls on Small Businesses.” Ambrosio described recalls as “a time-consuming and complicated process averaging 10 hours per product recalled.” In its last fiscal year, he said, Wakfern had 214 recalls, including 27 Class 1 recalls and 43 pharmacy recalls, which encompassed 218 stockkeeping units (UPC codes) and required 2,140 hours of labor.
Recalls trigger a bulletin that is sent to all of Wakefern’s ShopRite independent store owners and applicable in-store divisions and management staff, and the information is posted on the company website. In addition to removing recalled items to a designated holding area, stores lock out recalled UPC codes from POS systems. Class 1 recalls trigger automated phone calls that notify store owners and managers to directly reinforce the bulletin; and third-party auditors visit stores to ensure that Class 1 recalled products have been removed from the shelves within 24 hours.
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