We have launched new tools for withdrawing or recalling unsafe food

Our new guidance has been designed to help food businesses carry out food safety withdrawals and recalls with greater ease and effectiveness.
11 March 2019

Download our ‘Guidance on Food Traceability, Withdrawals and Recalls within the UK Food Industry’ which explains what the law requires and how to comply, as well as information on:  

  • traceability systems  
  • making a decision on carrying out a withdrawal or recall  
  • roles and responsibilities  
  • the key principles to effectively inform consumers of a food recall  

Philip Randles, Head of Incidents and Resilience at the Food Standards Agency, said:   

‘When food on the market is found to be unsafe, food businesses are required to withdraw or recall a product. This guidance and the associated tools have been created with food businesses in mind, to help them carry out their responsibilities with greater ease and effectiveness. 

‘We urge food businesses to download these tools, so they are equipped to carry out the necessary actions to make sure food is safe and what it says it is.’   

We have also created some tools to supplement the UK-wide guidance and make it easier to implement. For example, a food recall point of sale notice that will save businesses time and make sure consumers get the information they need.  

This project has been delivered in partnership with representatives from the food industry, enforcement authorities and consumer allergy/patient support organisations. They are a key outcome from our joint review with Food Standards Scotland of the UK’s current food withdrawal and recall system.  

FSA Explains

A withdrawal is the process by which unsafe food is removed from the supply chain, where the food has not reached the consumer.  


A recall is when unsafe food is removed from the supply chain and consumers are advised to take appropriate action, for example, to return or dispose of the unsafe food. 


Traceability is the ability to trace food and its’ ingredients through all stages of production. 


Root cause analysis is a method that can be used to determine how and why the food safety incident happened, the initial cause and the identification of corrective actions to prevent future incidents occurring.