Why does food get recalled?
Food product is possibly contaminated during its production, transport, storage, and sales. When food manufacturers or food safety authorities from around the world find a safety problem associated with the certain food product directly or indirectly, they would timely recall the relevant food. In the case of Macao, the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) will order food manufacturers and business operators to recall the affected food product based on the level of health risk and the impacted extent of local food supply.
What are the reasons for food recalls?
In Macao, the reasons behind food recalls are mainly bacterial and viral contamination, presence of foreign matters (e.g. glass pieces), food additives exceeding legally permitted levels, heavy metal contaminants exceeding regulatory limits, mislabeling, and notification from the producing country to recall the product due to its newly-found consumption risks.
What are the responsibilities and obligations of food manufacturers and business operators?
Food industry has the responsibilities and obligations to carry out food recalls by notifying affected food businesses and consumers about the recall arrangements and providing enquiry hotlines in advance to remove potentially unsafe food products from the market quickly and efficiently. In addition, they must take the initiative to inform the Department of Food Safety of the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) about the progress and detail of the recall and work jointly with competent authorities in order to impede the spread of risks.
How can the public find out the food recall information?
When a certain food product must be recalled, IAM publishes the information on the newspapers and the website of ‘Food Safety Information (www.foodsafety.gov.mo)’. General public can regularly visit the website and download the official mobile application for the latest news. If necessary, they can contact the relevant food suppliers to get detail information for returning the affected products.
Residents should note the following tips if they have the recalled food products:
Do not panic: Most cases of food recalls are not related to food poisoning whereas to the potential food products being contaminated or involved of other technical issues, such as incorrect packaging and mislabeling; thus, the manufacturers take a voluntary recall as a precautionary measure.
Do not eat the suspected food: Even though the food product is recalled as a risk prevention, it may pose a health hazard after consumption.
Do not open the food package: Never try to judge the safety of food by its taste, smell or appearance.
Handle the suspected food properly: Pack it properly before disposal so as to avoid someone from picking it up and eating.