“As a result of the 2018 romaine outbreaks, United Fresh is working, in collaboration with other associations throughout the supply chain, from produce growers to retailers and restaurants, to implement measures that will prevent outbreaks, improve traceability if an issue occurs, gain industry consensus on and consumer understanding of new voluntary labeling for harvest sources, and improve collaboration during outbreak investigations,” Dr. McEntire relates.
“Since the fall of 2018, there has been a real uptick in interest among our members regarding how to handle a recall or other food safety crisis,” she notes. “Bear in mind that there were very few actual recalls associated with the romaine outbreaks, but any company handling the product was impacted. Those in the leafy greens industry want to better prepare, and those dealing in other fresh fruit and vegetable items realize that these types of events can impact them.”
United Fresh has been publicly offering its Recall Ready Program and Recall Ready Workshop for several years, usually once or twice a year, in locations that are convenient to its members, most often in California and Florida. Workshops are also delivered in states that fund training for their constituents, Dr. McEntire notes. “Classes are limited to 56 participants and generally sell out,” she relates.
“These programs equip hundreds of members with resources that prepare them for the chaos of a recall,” Dr. McEntire says. “This training is offered in a partnership between United Fresh, the legal and communications experts at OFW Law (Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC), and Watson Green, LLC, which is one of the food industry’s leading crisis counseling firms.”