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Product Safety Recalls Update| Trading Standards Lawyer

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)  was launched in January 2018 to advise on product safety for non – food goods such as toys, clothes, cosmetics and white goods. Together with the British Standards Insitute [BSI] it has developed a code of practice for product recalls which builds on the guidance in the General Product Safety Regulation.

Food however is governed by the Food Standards Agency who run a news and alerts service on current issues. The recent report however from the Lloyds Register Foundation paints a bleak picture, where a recent survey has found disturbing levels of public confidence in the global food supply chain.

The Office for Public Safety and Standards ( OPSS) is the national regulator for all consumer products apart from vehicles, medicine and food. As well as hallmarking and standards work, the OPSS is the lead enforcement agency for a range of goods based and standards based regulations.

The OPSS, together with BSI, has published the √جª¬øCode of Practice on consumer product safety related recalls and other corrective actions: Part 1: Business  Part II Regulators.   Click here to purchase the code for £45 from the BSI website.

The main feature of the Code is the introduction of the Product Safety Incident Plan, a tool that gives detailed guidance on the principles behind a sucessful product recall that were originally introduced by the General Product Safety Regulations. This includes:

  • Practical measures to enhance traceability
  • Protocols for the collection of information
  • How/when to contact enforcement authorities
  • Production of risk assessments 
  • Appropriate corrective action
  • Recall notices, Call handling, returns policy etc.


It is becoming clear that traceability is becoming the key issue in building trust in the supply chain. The use of rfid and other tagging to identify specfic batch data is now essential for a comprehensive PSIP. The use of blockchain is now being recommended as the ‘go to’ tech solution for many global supply chain issues, especially in the Food Sector. See for example the article Recalls and Blockchain: How Blockchain can Aid and Ultimately Prevent Recalls where this emerging tech is proposed to determine the origin of products where a risk has been identified, such the farms where infected lettuce has been grown, and also to identify where counterfeit electronics, electrical goods and pharmaceuticals have been put on the market causing risk of danger to consumers.

The Lloyds Register Foundation have released an important report on Food Safety entitled the Foresight Review of Food Safety which dealt with recent supermarket food recalls over allergy fears, due to uncertain ingredients. Again, the call is for collaboration and traceability where consumer safety is placed at the forefront of all supply chain management decisions. 

The Report estimates that an estimated 600 miilion people, almost 1 in 10 in the world, fall ill as a result of eating contaminated food and 420,000 die every year. The cost of unsafe food is high, the US department of agriculture estimates that foodbourne illness costs the United States at least $15.6 billion annually in lost productivity and medical care. The food production system is also one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Lloyds Register Foundation firmly believe that technology solutions can play an important part in addressing these challenges, using life sciences to produce new forms of proteins, and using sustainable methods of food production such as urban farming, the use of predicitve data and IoT coupled with blockchain to build transparent and traceable global supply chains. 

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