Earlier this month, the Kroger Co. became the first national retail chain to encourage its suppliers to subscribe to Rapid Recall Exchange, an online service that standardizes and accelerates food and product recalls and withdrawals.
The Rapid Recall Exchange, developed by GS1 US in collaboration with the Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association, is the industry's only online standardized recall notification system. It uses consistent forms and processes, so that when a recall is issued, retailers receive the same complete information, including product images and handling instructions.
Kroger, the largest traditional grocery retailer in the US, is asking all of its suppliers to subscribe by July 1, 2010. Once subscribed, suppliers using the Rapid Recall Exchange can quickly alert retailers and provide all critical recall information in one communication 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This will enable Kroger to quickly remove recalled products and reach out to customers with detailed information about the recalls.
As I have posted about before, supplier collaboration like the kind facilitated by the Rapid Recall Exchange is critical to mitigate risks in your supply chain. Of course, this level of teamwork is particularly important in today's food industry where:
supply chains are complex, interconnected and global,
traceability is essential for accurate and efficient recalls, and
recalls are becoming increasingly common (and costly).
Senate hearings on food safety legislation (SB 510) (Food Safety Modernization Act) are anticipated soon, maybe even this week. Advances such as updated food safety regulations and new, automated supplier risk management strategies can't come soon enough. They'll both go a long way to improving the safety of the nation's food supply.