TORONTO - A coalition of Canadian industry associations has come together to launch a single standardized program for product recalls.
The new recall program will make use of web-based technology created by GS1 Canada, the non-profit organization known for creating and managing bar codes used by businesses.
The new program will not replace or change the existing recall system driven by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
But the group representing manufacturers, retailers and distributors says it will standardize the communication of recall information between Canadian businesses.
Currently, product recalls are the responsibility of the company involved, and the company works with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and retailers to execute them.
The coalition says this results in significant variation in processes and communication across industry.
The group says the new program will enhance consumer safety and lessen the administrative burden for businesses.
The GS1 Canada product recall program will first launch in the grocery sector, with a planned rollout to general merchandise and pharmacy sectors slated for 2010.
In addition to GS1 Canada, the coalition includes Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, Food and Consumer Products of Canada and the Retail Council of Canada, representing more than 65,000 manufacturers, distributors and retailers across the country.
"The efficient and effective handling of product recalls is one of our industry's highest priorities," Nick Jennery, president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, said in a statement.
"A truly collaborative effort between manufacturers, retailers and distributors in this initiative demonstrates an industry wide commitment to ensuring that accurate information can be easily shared between all trading partners."