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Product Recalls - Is Liability Then Removed ?

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Canary42 | 15:00 Sun 11th Oct 2020 | Shopping & Style
3 Answers
I've just got a news item from my local rag on Facebook regarding product recalls from several supermarkets.

Except the first one, all are labelling omissions, with allergies not being listed. This strikes me as rather careless, but provided they announce a recall are they then exonerated from prosecution ?

Is there a central register where folk with allergies can get all recall details ?

For what it's worth here are the recalls, much detail omitted owing to Ab character limit.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Roosters Southern Fried Poppin’ ChickenBreaded Poppin' Chicken
Aldi have recalled Roosters Southern Fried Poppin’ Chicken and Roosters Breaded Poppin' Chicken due to salmonella concerns.

Pork and Chorizo Burgers
Waitrose & Partners are recalling their Easy to Cook Pork and Chorizo Burgers because they contain egg which is not mentioned on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to egg.

Cologran Stevia sweetener tablets
Lidl GB is recalling Cologran Stevia sweetener tablets (Stevia variant) because aspartame, (E951) is not mentioned on the label, a possible health risk to sufferers of phenylketonuria (PKU).

Stockley’s recalls Fruit Sherbets
Stockley’s is recalling Fruit Sherbets because they contain milk which is not mentioned on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to milk or milk constituents. The affected product was only sold in Iceland stores.

Worthenshaws recalls Kirsty’s Classic Beef Lasagne
Worthenshaws Ltd is recalling Kirsty’s Classic Beef Lasagne because it contains a statement on the label that the product is free from all 14 allergens, which is not accurate as the product contains oats (that are gluten-free). Oats is also not emphasised on the label.
This means the product is suitable for someone following a gluten-free diet, however, it is not suitable for those who have an allergy to Oats.

Chocolate Mini Cupcakes
Waitrose & Partners is recalling Chocolate Mini Cupcakes 9s because of undeclared walnuts (nuts).
The product was mis-packed and contains Coffee and Walnut Mini Cupcakes instead. Therefore, the product contains walnuts (nuts) which are not mentioned on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to walnuts (nuts).

Chicken Breast Sizzlers
SPAR is recalling Pesto Chicken Breast Sizzlers because it contains egg which is not mentioned on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to egg.

Tiger Tiger Spicy Pad Thai Paste
JK Foods (UK) is recalling Tiger Tiger Spicy Pad Thai Paste because it contains peanuts which is not correctly emphasised on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to peanuts.

Uncle Roy’s recalls Rabbie's Super Horseradish
Uncle Roy’s Ltd is recalling this because it contains mustard which is not mentioned on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to mustard.

Van der Meulen recalls Melba Thins Original
Van der Meulen is recalling Melba Thins Original because they contain egg which is not mentioned on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to egg.

Co-op recalls Chocolate Caramel Shortcake Bites
Co-op have recalled their packs of 18 Chocolate Caramel Shortcake Bites.
This is because some packs contain an incorrect product resulting in barley (gluten) not being mentioned on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to barley or gluten.
The Co-op said: "Return product to nearest Coop store for a refund. Alternatively, if you are currently self-isolating or shielding please contact our Customer Careline to arrange a refund.

Country Products recalls Snak Shed Milk Chocolate Coated Jumbo Raisins
Country Products Ltd is recalling Snak Shed Milk Chocolate Coated Jumbo Raisins because they contain peanuts which are not mentioned on the label, a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy to



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>>> Is there a central register where folk with allergies can get all recall details ?

Th Trading Standards website carries the information but you need to click on the links to read the full details. (However you can choose to view up to 100 entries per page, saving you from having to click through lots of pages):
https://www.tradingstandards.uk/consumers/product-recalls-and-safety-notices

The information is duplicated on the website of the Food Standards Agency, where you can read the full details of each entry straight away (without needing to click on a link) but where you need to work through several pages if you want to go back to look for older entries:
https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/search/alerts

(I prefer the latter format myself).


>>> Is liability then removed?

Lawyers could argue about that for years! For a company to be successfully sued the person taking action against them would need to show that they had been negligent and/or that they had failed to display due diligence.

As an analogy, if you slip on a spillage in a supermarket which has only just occurred (leaving the staff no time to identify and remedy the problem), resulting in injury, it's unlikely that you could successfully sue the supermarket for damages, as there was no negligence involved on their part. However if the CCTV showed that the spillage had occurred quite some time before, and had been totally ignored by staff members who must have clearly seen it, then a claim for damages would almost certainly be successful, as a court would rule that the store had been negligent in failing to clear up the spillage.

So, in the case of a civil action for damages resulting from a mis-labelled product, a court would have to decide (based upon the 'balance of probabilities') whether or not the complainant had successfully shown that the store had been negligent. The test in a criminal case (of 'proof beyond all doubt') is far higher and the CPS (or other relevant agency, such as the FSA) would only commence proceedings where there was extremely clear evidence against the relevant company (or one of its staff).
Question Author
Thanks Chris for that informative response (and apologies for my rudeness in not responding earlier)

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