ARLINGTON, Va. — Food Marketing Institute is scheduled to unveil today a revamped version of its online recall portal, dubbed Rapid Recall Exchange, that it hopes will facilitate the dissemination of recall information.
“We have learned there were things we could do to enhance the system, to make it more user-friendly and to make it easier to convey the information that needs to be conveyed in the unfortunate event of a recall or a withdrawal,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, FMI. “The Rapid Recall Exchange is going to make it a lot easier for everyone to use it.”
FMI has continued to partner with standards group GS1 US, based in Lawrenceville, N.J., on the portal, which debuted in its original form earlier this year and supported five recalls. The new version has been in test since late last month after improvements based on consultation with users.
Bob Carpenter, president of GS1 US, said the improvements primarily involved making the system easier to use and facilitating communication.
“It is much more user-friendly and intuitive, as far as what information a supplier enters and what a receiver sees,” he said. “In the past, it was a little ‘clunky,’ for lack of a better term, as far as how a supplier would enter information. Now there are very specific and easy-to-understand prompts that take you through exactly what you need to fill out where, so that you send out a very complete, high-integrity set of information to the entire trading community.”
He said much of the work around the portal involved improving the business processes that outline clear responsibilities for senders and receivers of information.
Brian Lynch, director of sales and sales promotion at the Washington-based Grocery Manufacturers Association — which said it supports the portal — said one of the key improvements involved creating a way for receivers of recall notices to respond.
“Two-way communication was critical for driving use of this,” he told SN. “We needed confirmation that our partners are in receipt of the information and that they are acting on it.”
He also said that in addition to being able to use this for Class I (emergency) recalls, the portal also adds functionality around Class II and Class III recalls, as well as market withdrawals.
Tom Zaucha, president and CEO, National Grocers Association, also based here, said NGA also supports the portal. “It is a very important exercise, and we are pleased to be a part of that process.”
Ultimately the goal should be to create a recall system that will be used across all retail channels and involving all suppliers, he said.
Annual fees to use the portal range from $250 to $750 for receivers and from $300 to $2,100 for suppliers, based on annual revenues. As of last week eight wholesalers, 53 retailers and 40 manufacturers were subscribers.