A food recall case study in Australia – Towards the development of food safety applications for consumers

Adeola Bamgboje-Ayodele, Leonie Ellis, Paul Turner


Changes in consumer attitudes, behaviours and purchasing preferences towards different types of food highlight the increased demand for better quality information on safety, quality and provenance of food products and on sustainability of food production processes. These changes offer both new opportunities and risks for food producers who require mechanisms to better understand and respond to changing consumers’ decision-making trends on food.  In the area of food safety, investigation of consumer and producer responses during recall incidents provide an opportunity to holistically understand existing information flows and elicit user requirements necessary for the development of more effective consumer food safety applications.

This paper reports on a case study conducted with an Australian premium manufacturing company that experienced a food recall in 2014. The investigation confirms that current Australian food recall response mechanisms do not guarantee a closed loop of communication with all purchasers of a recalled product. It also highlights that producers still face difficulties in understanding how best to effectively understand and respond to different types of consumers. It emerges that recovery from a food incident relies on many factors including pre-existing brand reputation, effective information management, control mechanisms and supply chain partner response. From a consumer perspective, it is evident that consumers’ responses are influenced by various factors that require sensitivity around the choice of information modality and information platform adopted to enhance communications during food recall. The paper highlights the need for further research into understanding consumer food safety behaviours post-purchase to improve the development of consumer food safety applications.


consumers; decision-making; food recall; information technology

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