World Food Safety Day 2019

On World Food safety Day food producers are encouraged to examine their food safety processes, in particular their Food Traceability processes and Food Withdrawal and Recall procedures.  We have asked our SALSA Auditors some simple questions and you may find their responses helpful!

What is a Food Incident? 

A food safety incident occurs when there has been harm to health caused by the consumption of a food or drink product. The severity of an incident can range from mild symptoms to hospitalisation and in severe cases death.


The General Food Law 178/2002 established the need for companies to take a precautionary approach to food safety with the responsibility to withdraw or recall products from the market which are believed to be potentially harmful to health.


Food safety events with the potential to cause harm may include food safety, regulatory and quality issues with differing impact across consumer groups. Certain consumer groups are more vulnerable, such as those with allergies, young children and the elderly. Consideration of the target consumer and understanding how they will use the product is an essential as part of the food safety risk assessment. For example, a ready meal with chunks of meat could present a choking hazard for young children yet be fine for most of us to consumer, when cooked correctly.


The SALSA Food Safety system requires companies to establish robust food safety systems compliant with legislation including guidance in the area of Incident Management and setting up a traceability system which is essential to be able to action a product recall or withdrawal.


Sarah Howarth BSc Hons; CSci ; FIFST, SALSA Auditor 6 Years 


What is the difference between a food recall and food withdrawal?


A food recall is where a company involved in the growing, manufacturing  or supply food requests the return of unsafe products from its customers and the final consumer (i.e. the public), whilst a food withdrawal is the same company requesting the return of out of specification or unfit products from its customers but not the final consumer.  

Brian Humpreys, SALSA Auditor & Mentor


What is a Traceability System?

The generally used definition; is the ability to track any food or contact packaging through all stages of production, processing and distribution (including all stages of farming, harvesting, processing, packing and distribution). Traceability should mean that products and ingredients can be traced one step backwards and one step forward at any point in the supply chain.

Sarah Jackaman, SALSA Auditor & Mentor