F.M.I. launches Rapid Recall Exchange

by Erica Shaffer
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ARLINGTON, VA. — The Food Marketing Institute has a new food safety recall service called Rapid Recall Exchange (R.R.E.), an on-line food and product recall system designed to enable its users to quickly respond to a recall. The R.R.E. was commissioned by the F.M.I. associate member advisory board and developed by GS1 U.S., a non-profit organization focused on standards-based global supply-chain issues.

The new service replaces F.M.I.’s Product Recall Portal, which was developed in collaboration with the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The Product Recall Portal allowed companies issuing recalls to send information directly to retailers, wholesalers and food service organizations via the Internet. The new on-line service accomplishes the same tasks and more thanks to numerous additions and upgrades, said Jon Mellor, director, External Affairs, GS1 U.S.

The R.R.E. is subscriber-based and uses Sun Microsystems — with Oracle and Java — as its platform. It has two-way communication capability for recall receivers torespond via free-form text and attachments and for the initiator to subsequently respond, Mr. Mellor said.

The system has a save and edit recall capability and a more intuitive user interface, he added. Subscriptions by sector/target market allow for future custom recall forms, and the system may import data from Excel for product level information, Mr. Mellor said.

With R.R.E., Class I recalls are sent to all system receivers. Those not targeted in the recall will receive only basic information and will be made aware that the recall was not targeted to them. The system’s tracking mechanism identifies who received, opened and responded to the recall notification.

Mr. Mellor said during a recall "the initiating company goes to Rapid Recall Exchange, logs in securely and provides the relevant information for their customer to act effectively on the recall."

The information will include:

• General information, including the Food and Drug Administration Case Safety Report Number (I.C.S.R.);

• Manufacturing company and location information;

• Product information, including such details as the U.P.C., case information, quantities and product images;

• Special handling instructions;

• Reimbursement requirements; and

• Manufacturer contact information.

"Then, two people in the initiating company must approve the recall notification, for verification and accuracy," Mr. Mellor said. "The receiving company (wholesaler or retailer) receives a notification e-mail, then can log into the same tool to review additional information and/or communicate with the initiating company with all communications tracked and archived."

Kathleen Thomas, manager, communications for the F.M.I., said the institute, in collaboration with the G.M.A., employed the New England Consulting Group in 2007 to conduct a survey of industry members to identify areas of retailer and manufacturer collaboration in improving recall management.

"The food industry wanted reliable communication that would provide a more comprehensive and more rapid response," Ms. Thomas said. "Rapid Recall Exchange enables prompt and accurate information exchange to protect customers and save trading partners time and money, thereby meeting a critical priority of the food industry."

To encourage early subscriptions, the F.M.I. is offering a free subscription through Dec. 31, 2009, to retailers and wholesalers if they subscribe between Sept. 21 and Oct. 30.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, September 29, 2009, starting on Page 1. Click here to search that archive.

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