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Recall Team – mock recall test: cryptosporidium scenario

This is the first of a series of posts which will provide you with a withdrawal and recall test scenario. Each one will provide a situation where:
  • Product may have been affected and therefore may need to be withdrawn or recalled.
  • Traceability will be required to establish affected product (meaning you can use this as a combined recall and traceability test if you wish).
  • An emergency situation (business continuity) is involved.
Try not to disregard the scenario if you feel that it does not apply to you.  Get the team together anyway, to review the situation, to really challenge yourself (play devil’s advocate) and to prove that it would not put you at risk. You may find there are still lessons to be learnt.

The situation…

Scenario detail

It’s Monday morning 9:10am and the local water authority has called the main site phone number.  The site manager is on annual leave and the site management team are in the morning meeting.

If your site has a morning meeting at this time, then allow it to take place as normal.

If your site has a morning meeting at a different time, change the timing of the call in the scenario to match this.

If your site doesn’t have a morning meeting, change the type of meeting to suit.

The aim is to ensure that the management team are out of the way, to establish if the rest of the site team know how to raise the alarm.

Scenario detail

The representative from the local water authority asks to speak to the most senior person on site, as there is an issue with the safety of the water that is being supplied to the site.

As the site manager is on holiday and the rest of the management team are in the morning meeting, the person that answers the main phone number passes the call to the next deputy to the site management team.

You will need someone to act as the representative from the local water authority.

Get this person to call the main switchboard number.  Explain that this is a test, that they are calling from the local water authority and that they must speak to the most senior person on site, as there is an emergency situation which affects the safety of the water that has been supplied to the site.

Get them to provide contact details for them to call back to get all the details.

Main phone number answered by:

Does this person know who to transfer the call to?

Does this person have written instructions to follow?

Does this person understand the seriousness of the situation?

Result of call: transferred to/ message taken.

Scenario detail

The message gets through to the management team.

The member of the management team calls back to get the details.

The member of the management team must then follow the recall and emergency situations procedure.

The nominated person who is acting as the representative from the local water authority should provide the following information to the member of the management team that calls:

There has been an outbreak of Cryptosporidium in the local area.

The local water authority are advising the public to boil all drinking water and water used for washing food and food equipment.

The issue was first picked up late on Saturday night, therefore all water that has been supplied to the site since Saturday could have been contaminated.  The exact timing has not yet been established, so the water authority are advising to air on the side of caution.

  • Record how long it takes for the site management team to be notified.
  • Record how long it takes for them to call back.
  • Record what the member of the management team does next.
  • Do they know how to instigate the recall team?
  • Do they relay the information to them correctly?
  • Does the recall team follow the recall procedure?
  • Is the procedure detailed enough to be able to know what to do?
  • Does the recall team record the investigation, the actions they take, who they’ve called, what they’ve said, timings etc?
  • Does each member of the team know their roles and what their responsibilities are?

Key outcomes:

  1. Does the recall team establish what product may be affected through traceability?
  2. Do they assess the risk of this product and take any necessary action to ensure that the customer is not put at risk?
  3. Do they get in touch with relevant parties (informing them that this is a test) such as customers and distribution chains?
  4. Do they ensure that any affected product is located and confirmed as contained?
  5. Do they assess the safety of water that has been consumed by personnel during this time?  And, have they taken necessary actions to contain secondary contamination from personnel who may be ill?
  6. Does the team assess the impact on the product being produced?  Do they either stop production, or, implement a system of positive release? Or, do they produce a documented risk assessment that details why production can safely continue?
  7. Does the team instigate contingency plans for disruption to water?  Are these plans sufficiently detailed to manage this event?  This should include calling contracted suppliers as part of the contingency plan and ensuring that the expected timescales and agreements can be met.
I’d be really keen to hear how you get on if you use this scenario. Or, if there is anything that you would add to it or change?  It would be good to include your suggestions to make it better for those that try it in the future. Please get involved and add your thoughts in the comments section below.
recall plan

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