Australia’s major food and grocery retailers have united in a call for suppliers to use the recall notification system GS1 Recallnet to better protect consumers.

Woolworths, Metcash, Coles and Costco have signed on to show their full support of the notification system.

In a joint letter addressed to industry partners, the retailers said: “When you issue recalls and withdrawals today, it's hard to know whether the right information is delivered to the right people at the right time; which is why we're proud to be joining this industry-wide effort to improve and standardise recall and withdrawal notifications.”

GS1 Recallnet is administered by not-for-profit organisation GS1 Australia on a cost-recovery basis. It has been developed to accelerate product recalls and withdrawals by by simplifying and automating the exchange of information between suppliers, distributors, retailers as well as government agencies such as FSANZ and the ACCC.

According to the letter, the online portal makes it easier for suppliers to accurately issue these notifications to customers in a timely manner, speeding up the information flow, eliminating confusion and saving money. As a result, recalled products can be quickly removed from sale and supply, thereby protecting the brand and consumers.

“Our organisations are actively participating in this initiative because of the positive benefits it brings to our industry and the safety of our customers. Since its launch in August 2011, GS1 Recallnet has been incorporated into the business processes of a significant number of our trading partners,” the retailers said.