Following the recent international “egg scandal” and lessons learned from other instances of food product impurities in the near past, the EU has now announced plans to overhaul its rapid alert system for product recalls. A reaction on the part of the authorities is long overdue, suggests Miriam-Carena Schmitt, a retail sector specialist at Retarus:
“According to the consumer protectors at foodwatch e.V. [German], hazardous food products have been recalled in more than 500 cases in Germany over the past five years. On average, this equates to at least two product recalls per week. European law first and foremost places the onus of responsibility on the producers of the food products, to protect consumers from coming to harm through unsafe or hazardous food products. Consumers these days have come to perceive precautionary product recalls as evidence of responsible business conduct on the part of a producer.
Avoid health risks: every second counts
To avoid high claims for compensation or legal redress, as well as dissatisfied customers and health risks, producers have to alert importers, wholesalers and retailers about product recalls without delay – unambiguously and by all imaginable channels. The legislator also prescribes precise documentation of the recall activities which leaves no gaps and can easily be traced. The intention is clear: Steps must be taken immediately to prevent the impacted products from being sold.
So far a lot of the information has been reaching the stores and customers too late, however, or has only been spread by means of single channels. It is important, though, to alert addressees by means of the most fitting communication channel for that specific target group. To ensure dependable communication in a crisis situation, producers of food products therefore have to review their communication processes, and revise them if necessary. They require a flexible, automated solution, with which they are always able to reach their recipients as quickly as possible and which can verify receipt of the message with great precision in compliance with legal provisions. Cloud services offer valuable support in this regard.”
On the safe side with Retarus Cloud Services
Retarus provides messaging solutions with both individually customizable APIs and standardized interfaces, for instance to business applications such as SAP. These solutions make it possible to administrate messaging campaigns for various channels directly in existing IT systems. The processing of responses from the stores and the logging of communications can be handled directly in the business application, irrespective of the channels used for the communication. Thanks to detailed analyses of delivery and throughput rates, those responsible can immediately determine whether messages have reached their recipients. In this manner, the legal duty to document the process can be fulfilled effortlessly. Numerous supermarkets and discounters in Europe are currently turning to the messaging services offered by Retarus to successfully handle product recalls.