Publicising a recall

The aim of publicising a recall is to get the message to everybody who may be affected by the unsafe product.

Planning your publicity

Consider the best ways to get the message to the people concerned. The advertising you used to encourage people to buy the product in the first place may also be a good way of telling them about the safety issue and remedy available. Think about the type of people you are trying to reach. Some people will read community newspapers but not a national paper.

Even if the initial purchaser no longer has the product, you still have a duty to inform and provide an appropriate remedy to anyone using or likely to be affected by an unsafe product that you've supplied.

Publicity channels

Direct contact, recall notices and media releases are 3 effective ways to publicise a recall. Other channels include:

  • asking relevant organisations to publish the recall in their newsletters and websites — for example, Plunket may publicise the recall of a toy or nursery product
  • advertising:
    • in magazines where the product was advertised
    • in specialist publications — for example, if a gardening tool is involved then place recall notices in specialist gardening magazines
    • on radio or television
    • in retailers’ mailers.

Direct contact

Telling your customers about the recall directly is highly effective. We encourage businesses to do this where possible. Use customer databases, sales records, loyalty schemes etc to identify people who may have bought the product.

However, direct contact is not a ‘silver bullet’ and you also need to use other communication channels.

Recall notices

For most recalls, we expect that the recall notice will be published in newspapers and on the business’s website and social media pages.

In newspapers

Place recall notice advertisements in newspapers in the regions where the product has been sold. They should be placed in a prominent position in the news section, not buried in the public notices. We recommend that they appear within the first 8 pages of the main news section of newspapers.

Make sure it's clear that the recall is for safety reasons. The advertisement should be at least 2 columns wide, with a suggested minimum size of 11cm by 14cm (approximately A6).

See What's required in a recall notice for more information about the recommended format for notices.

For products sold:

  • nationally, publish the recall notice in the major newspapers
  • locally, publish the notice in local or community newspapers.


We also recommend that recall notices are prominently displayed wherever the product was sold:

  • in-store at the point-of-sale (recommended size A5 or A4)
  • in-store customer noticeboards (recommended size A3).

On the Product Recalls website

We also publicise recalls through the Product Recalls website, and through its Facebook and Twitter social media channels.

Product Recalls website(external link)

You need to provide us with a copy of the final version of recall notice for this purpose, as part of your notification requirements.

See What's required in a recall notice for more information.

Media releases

A media release can give you free publicity for your recall on radio, television and in newspapers. Covering of a recall on television news or programmes like 'Fair Go' can be particularly effective.

A media release should be short, direct and written in simple language. Discuss the main point first and, if possible, include a quote from someone with authority in your business. Include the same information as in the recall notice.

See the New Zealand Press Association's website Mediacom, for more information.

Mediacom New Zealand website(external link)