Alistair Mackenzie discusses the recent Lactalis baby milk scandal and food production regulation in Compliance Week
Lactalis baby milk recall a nightmare of its own making
Alistair Mackenzie, a product liability barrister at 2 Temple Gardens, says that the case has revealed some “very worrying” details. “Food production is one of the most regulated industries in the world and it is troubling that a company of this size can link contaminated products back to February and beyond but seemingly have taken no discernible action to prevent their sale until December,” he says.
“It is also very troubling that retailers should continue to sell potentially contaminated products that have been banned by a government department and are undergoing a recall. These companies could be found liable for not withdrawing these products from sale,” he says.
Mackenzie says that the problems at Lactalis reinforce the need for food operators—as well as companies generally—to ensure that they have full traceability of the materials used in the product’s manufacture, as well as the final products’ sale and distribution.
He also says that when a product recall is necessary, companies should alert the necessary authorities “immediately,” as well as use their advice and expertise. “Those regulatory bodies that oversee recalls will have more experience and expertise than your company will about how to trace products, detect possible contamination, and remediate systems and processes to get production up and running again safely. Use their expertise—it can save you a lot of money in the long-run.”