About product recalls

A product recall is any corrective action taken to remedy a product safety issue that's identified after a product has been manufactured.

Types of recall

The corrective action in a product recall can cover a range of activities – from full recovery of the product to issuing new instructions. There are two types of product recall:

  • Voluntary recall — Recalls launched by businesses in response to an identified safety issue.
  • Compulsory recall — A recall ordered by the Minister.

See Compulsory product recalls for more information about this type of recall.

Aim of a recall

The main aim of any recall must be to minimise the risk of injury to users and/or the public.

Under the Fair Trading Act, everyone in the supply chain is responsible for product safety and has a role to play in a recall. A high profile, open and successful recall will give a strong, positive message to your customers that you are working in their best interests.

When to launch a recall

A product recall should be launched when a product is found to be unsafe and poses an unacceptable level of risk to users and/or the public.

If you're considering a product recall, Section 32 of the Fair Trading Act provides useful guidance. It advises that a recall needs to be launched when goods have been supplied that:

  • will or may cause injury to any person, or
  • contravene an unsafe goods notice or product safety standard.

Fair Trading Act 1986 — Section 32(external link)

If you're uncertain whether a recall is required, or if you need advice, we're here to help.

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Notifying product recalls

If you're recalling a product because of a safety issue, you must notify Trading Standards. Failure to notify us of a recall is an offence and you could be fined. You must also report the progress of the recall.

See What you must tell us for more information.

Help with product recalls

One of Trading Standards' roles is to help businesses with recalls. Effective recalls are good for the public, your customers, and for your business’ bottom line. The Guidelines for product recalls are our ‘how to’ guide on when and how to undertake a recall.

Guidelines for product recalls

Contact us if you need advice about assessing and managing a product safety issue as it arises.

If you're undertaking a voluntary product recall, contact us well in advance of the recall being publicly announced so we can help you make your recall more effective.

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