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    FMI, GS1 US Launch Nationwide System to Speed Product Recalls

    The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and GS1 US yesterday launched Rapid Recall Exchange, an online service developed to enable prompt and accurate information exchange between retailers/wholesalers and suppliers regarding food and product recalls and withdrawals.

    The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and GS1 US yesterday launched Rapid Recall Exchange, an online service developed to enable prompt and accurate information exchange between retailers/wholesalers and suppliers regarding food and product recalls and withdrawals.

    The service replaces an existing recall system, the Product Recall Portal, by improving ease of use and adding significant capabilities. “Rapid Recall Exchange represents industry consensus that a standardized product recall system is critical to enhancing effective communication,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “It is a system designed by the industry and for the industry, which applies best practices and critical insight and expertise from industry partners and associations.”

    According to Bob Carpenter, CEO of Lawrenceville, N.J.-based GS1 US, Rapid Recall Exchange will benefit the public as well as the companies that use it. “It employs the same GS1 global standards that these companies already use to identify their products, stock their shelves and accelerate checkouts,” he said. “Its ease of use and extensive functionality can improve the speed and accuracy of recalls, which we all want.”

    Rapid Recall Exchange complements existing recall practices, complies with the requirements of the FDA Reportable Food Registry and features:

    --Secure user-authentication
    --Two-way messaging between trading partners
    --Internet access anywhere, anytime
    --E-mail alerts about new information
    --Comprehensive, prioritized information with UPC bar codes and product images for easy identification
    --Verification of notification
    --Universal notification of Class 1 recalls
    --Targeted notification to specific customers
    --Consistent, reliable communications
    --Standardized forms, processes and instructions applying industry best practices

    The system also allows suppliers to send targeted information to retailers and wholesalers to provide specific information on how to remove recalled or withdrawn products and handle them safely, as well as address reimbursement requirements.

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and National Grocers Association (N.G.A.) are also behind the system.

    “Manufacturers are eager to work closely with retailers and wholesalers to facilitate information exchange, especially during the urgent time of a product recall,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of Washington-based GMA.

    “This is a critical initiative for our industry that requires leadership and proven solutions on such an important consumer issue,” said Tom Zaucha, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based N.G.A.

    Companies already participating in the FMI Product Recall Portal will automatically receive Rapid Recall Exchange subscriptions. The current subscriber list includes eight wholesalers, 45 retailers (representing 157 banners, 11,076 stores and more than $209 billion in sales), and 40 manufacturers (representing more than $300 billion in annual revenues).

    Rapid Recall Exchange is available for a nominal fee to cover operating expenses. To encourage quick and widespread adoption of the system, FMI and GS1 US are offering free trial subscriptions to retailers and wholesalers that sign up by Oct. 30. The trial period runs through Dec. 31, 2009.

    For more information or to register, visit www.rapidrecallexchange.org.

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