Retarus Press Release:
“Manufacturers and retailers urgently need to optimize their communication processes”
Retarus expert opinion on the EU’s plans for an improved rapid alert system for product recalls
Secaucus, 05.10.2017 // With product recalls all over the world seemingly the new normal, the demand for improved alerting and response has become critical in reducing the risk for incident and injury. Regardless of through the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, USDA, or CPSC domestically, or though other global regulatory organizations, notifications internally and externally need to be clear and demonstrate the proper amount of clarity and concern, while reaching their intended audience.
All this while the EU has announced plans to overhaul its rapid alert system for product recalls following the recent international “egg scandal” and lessons learned from other instances of food product impurities in the near past. A reaction on the part of the authorities is long overdue, suggests Miriam-Carena Schmitt, a retail sector specialist at global information logistics experts Retarus:
“According to the consumer protectors at foodwatch e.V., 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 and validated. The intention is clear: Steps must be taken immediately to prevent the impacted products from being sold. So far, in the EU, a lot of the information has been reaching the stores and customers too late. This may be due to the information spread only by means of single channel. It is important, though, to alert addressees by means of the most fitting communication channel for that specific target group.
The alerts should also reinforce and build on each other: The individual supermarket stores are, for instance, best contacted by means of fax, so that the message can be taken as a paper document from the fax machine and displayed directly in the shop. Store managers and sales representatives in the field can also be informed by SMS as a supporting measure. In addition to the alert itself, a back channel is also especially essential in ensuring the availability of audit-proof documentation. It is crucial that the stores respond to the head office to confirm that the food products concerned have been removed from the shelves properly.
Producers of food products have to optimize their communication processes
In both the US and the EU, to ensure dependable communication in a crisis, producers of food products and the regulatory agencies which oversee them, 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.”
Retarus provides messaging solutions with both individually customizable API
With its outstanding solutions and services, intelligent infrastructure, and patented technology, Retarus manages communication for companies worldwide. Retarus’ state-of-the-art technologies, highly available data centers, and innovative cloud messaging platform offer maximum security, maximum performance, and business continuity. With experience in steering information flows at the enterprise level, Retarus ensures that information is transferred securely and reliably to the right place, at the right time, in the right format—since 1992 and with now 15 subsidiaries on four continents. 25 percent of S&P100 companies as well as numerous Fortune 500 companies in the banking, finance and healthcare sectors rely on Retarus’ services. Longstanding customers include Adidas, Amer Sports, athenahealth, Bayer, BNP Paribas, Bosch, Continental, Cubic Corporation, DHL, Fujitsu, Geico, Goldman Sachs, John Deere, J.P.Morgan, LabCorp, Merck, Petronas, PSA, Sony, and Zeiss.