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4-Step Product Recall Improvement Proposal

Barry Mulcahy – 21st June 2013

Regular visitors to this site will know that we, and many others, believe that product recall processes are failing UK consumers.

  • There are over 400 consumer product recalls ever year. Many go unnoticed by consumers, including those who have the recalled products
  • Many recalls only manage to recall 10-20% of the affected products
  • There are no product recall targets, measures or reporting and no one is looking to improve recall effectiveness
  • There are many fires, injuries and even deaths caused by recalled products that were never actually recalled – see examples

We have been working on a number of proposals to improve recall effectiveness. One of these proposals is a 4-Step plan that can be implemented quickly and easily and will have an immediate effect on the consistency and effectiveness of recalls in the UK.

One of the biggest challenges is getting the Government to recognise that there is a problem.

The Government's position can probably be summed up by a recent quote from the Department of Business, Industry and Skills (who ultimately own consumer product recalls in the UK) - 'In our view the current obligations on manufacturers are quite strong and effective'.

Unfortunately, they are missing the point. It is the interpretation and implementation of these regulations and obligations that is the problem.

We are struggling to find anyone in Government who is prepared to listen to our proposals. We will continue trying but in the meantime we have decided to publish our proposal here.

The following is a high-level summary of the 4-Step plan. You can download the full document at the bottom of this page.


Product Recall Improvement Proposal


Step 1 - Create Central Recall Communication Team

  • Oversee all product recall communication in the UK
  • Provide tools, templates and advice to help manufacturers improve recall communication
  • Single objective to ‘Improve the effectiveness of recall communication in the UK’

Step 2 - Create National Product Recall website

  • The good news is that this website already exists, you are on it. It needs to be formally adopted as the primary source for all consumer recall information
  • Consumers will only need to look on 1 website to be sure of finding any product recall
  • Make it a mandatory requirement for manufacturers to list their recalls on this site

Step 3 - Set Minimum Recall Communication Requirements

  • Manufacturers are required to do everything practical to communicate their recall to consumers. There is a huge variation in the interpretation of this requirement and this needs to be addressed
  • Define minimum communication requirements for every recall (some may be criteria based)
  • This will significantly improve the consistency and effectiveness of product recalls

Step 4 - Publicise Critical Recall Data

  • We need to raise the visibility of product recall effectiveness, or the lack of it
  • All active recalls should publish the following key data every 3 months
    • Number of recalled products
    • Number of incidents
    • Number of injuries
    • Number of products actually recalled
  • The regular publication of this data will improve recall effectiveness because:-
    • Some manufacturers will do more if they know that their progress will be published
    • It will drive poor performing manufacturers to achieve effectiveness rates equal to, or greater, than their competitors

With our help we believe that these steps can be implemented in a matter of weeks. If you have any feedback or would like to discuss our proposal then please contact us at info@RecallUK.com

To download the full proposal click 4-Step Product Recall Improvement Proposal