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Ways to avoid a packaging recall after an error

A significant number of products are recalled every year after they have already been on the market due to printing defects. These include missing print elements or incorrect details of ingredients on the packaging. If the product is a basic consumer good or a high-end luxury item, the packaging must conform to certain regulations.

A product recall can cost a company millions of dollars in fines or logistics costs. With regulatory bodies establishing ever tighter guidelines, every brand should be completely assured that their packaging meets the necessary specifications.

Nowadays, automated manufacturing processes have a high degree of precision in pack production. The luxury sector frequently employs more manual processes, but the same concept applies to both; ensure relevant quality control checks at each point of the particular manufacturing process to avoid errors.

What can cause a recall?

A number of packaging errors can cause a brand or regulatory body to recall a product. It is primarily determined by the commodity itself. Printing and labelling defects are a leading cause, accounting for about 60% of all recalls. Ingredient lists must be complete and, where possible allergens are present, these products must be clearly labelled with a large warning.

Ways to avoid a packaging recall after an error

How to avoid a packaging error recall

Ensure information is correct with quantity, price and promotional stickers. Packaging designers must ensure that the appropriate icons are used, especially when it comes to recycling and the triangular arrow icons used on the pack. An incorrectly used icon may have a negative impact on an entire batch of recyclables and cause possible damage to recycling machinery.

Check barcodes and fine print. Incorrect barcodes can be easy to miss during quality control checks if not tested properly at both the design and production levels. At the time of production, almost every food product needs a code. Any incorrect or incomplete barcode will result in a product being returned, rejected or recalled. 

Sealing is a vital food security control point that can be difficult to master. Rigid or flexible packaging that has been conditioned in a changing environment is becoming more common as a result of our needs for freshness, prolonged shelf life or practical considerations. Regular checks at the end of each stage of the manufacturing process will ensure that any minor mistakes are identified and corrected as soon as possible. 

Of course, the design team is responsible for ensuring that the right information is included in the pack. Some of the needless costs associated with packaging recall that manufacturers face are highly avoidable and can be prevented by strategic means. In the manufacturing industry, mastering organisational best practices, such as labelling, will save money and time.

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Written by Kate Hawthorne

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