Canadian Packaging

Ground Breaking New Approach To Product Recalls


November 6, 2009
by Canadian Packaging Staff

GS1 Canada, as part of a coalition of leading Canadian industry associations representing over 65,000 manufacturers, distributors and retailers, has launched a national product recall program that will enhance consumer safety and reduce the administrative burden for business.

The GS1 Canada Product Recall program neither replaces nor changes the existing Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)-driven recall system. Designed by industry, for industry, the program will standardize the communication of recall information between Canadian businesses, using a common web-based technology.

The program is founded on a standardized process created by GS1 Canada, the neutral, non-profit supply chain standards organization most well-known for creation and management of the universal product code (bar code), used by millions of businesses worldwide.  This global online platform uses robust HP cloud-computing technology and is based on global GS1 standards

“Canadian businesses are committed to ensuring the safety of the products they sell to Canadians,” comments Diane J. Brisebois, president and chief executive officer of the Retail Council of Canada. “Through collaboration, industry has identified that this recall program is exactly what Canada needs to expedite faster, more accurate and more effective recalls, ultimately enhancing consumer safety.”

Product recalls are the responsibility of the company undertaking them, who works with the CFIA and retailers to execute. This results in significant variation in processes and communication across industry.  Industry leaders agree that a standardized communication protocol between businesses is critical to enable effective execution of product recalls.  “CFIG welcomes the new program as a significant complement to the existing recall notification process,” commented John Scott, president and chief executive officer of the Canadain Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG). “It will enhance clarity and speed in pulling products from the shelf, and minimize confusion. Our members look forward to using this new program because of its substantial benefits to all retailers regardless of size.”

“Ensuring the safety of products produced is the number one priority of the manufacturers of food and consumer products,” noted Nancy Croitoru, president and chief executive oficer, Food & Consumer Products of Canada. “When products do require recall, it is imperative for Canadians and for companies that the process is consistent, efficient and immediate. By joining forces and committing to a single standardized program, participating Canadian businesses will further enhance Canada’s excellent recall system to ensure it is more responsive, more immediate and better serves consumers.”

The GS1 Canada Product Recall program will launch first in the grocery sector, with a roll out to the general merchandise and pharmacy sectors planned for 2010.  The coalition includes:

"The efficient and effective handling of product recalls is one of our industry’s highest priorities,” said Nick Jennery, president and chief executive officer, Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. “CCGD is always open and willing to participate in any initiative that enhances and streamlines the recall communication processes between businesses. A truly collaborative effort between manufacturers, retailers and distributors in this initiative demonstrates an industry wide commitment to ensuring that accurate information can be easily shared between all trading partners.” 

For more information, visit www.gs1ca.org.