Holds vs Recalls

When a food recall is announced, school nutrition departments must act both quickly and nimbly to ensure customer safety and program integrity. There are many moving parts to a food recall, but preparations begin before a recall is even announced, as discussed in the June/July 2020 article “Readying Recall Reactions.”

But, do you know how to handle a food hold?

Different from a food recall, a hold is a period used for investigation after a USDA commodity food has been identified as potentially unsafe. (Need help handling a USDA Foods recall. This hold process is unique to USDA commodity foods and the hold period is no longer than 10 days. Once the product has been found safe and can be used, USDA will issue a release.

This process of monitoring USDA commodity foods recalls was streamlined in 1999 with the creation of the Commodity Hold and Recall Team (CHART). They identified three key objectives to address handling holds and recalls from USDA commodity foods.

  • Provide accurate and timely communication to schools regarding a food recall;
  • Ensure that unsafe commodity products are removed from sites quickly and efficiently; and
  • Streamline the reimbursement process.

Because school districts are at the end of the food supply chain, they play a vital role and have responsibility that all recalls are handled properly. By knowing proper protocols in handling both holds and recalls, operators can do their part to ensure everyone is safe.

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