After its first year of operation, the Rapid Recall Exchange, an online service that aims to speed up notice of recalls and the withdrawal of recalled food and products from store shelves, has signed up 500 members.

The end of September marked the first anniversary for the 24-hour communication network, which connects product suppliers and distributors.  The service was commissioned by the Associate Member Advisory Board of the Food Marketing Institute and developed by GS1 US.

The program’s goal was to streamline the older Product Recall Portal system, which employed strategies such as email, phone messages and faxes.  The new system involves 24-hour, 2-way messaging between producers and retailers.  Recall notices include barcodes and product images for easy identification, plus universal notification for Class 1 recalls and targeted notification for specific customers.

The subscription service is supported by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Grocers Association.

Companies that have signed on as initiators to use the service include Coca Cola, ConAgra Foods Inc., Dole Packaged Foods, LLC., General Mills, Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods, Inc., and Procter & Gamble.

Companies that have subscribed to receive recall alerts include Costco, Disneyland, Giant Eagle, Safeway, Wallgreens, Kroger, Whole Foods Market and Target.

Food Safety News reported in April that Kroger’s and other major food retailers had asked their suppliers to subscribe to the system by July 1. 

In reporting on its first year, the recall service also announced that it is a finalist for the 2010 Chicago Innovation Awards, which recognize significant new products and services.

We all have the same goal – to prevent the need for any recalls. But when a recall is necessary, retailers want to receive accurate and timely information so we can expedite the removal of product as quickly as possible,” Jill Hollingsworth, the vice president of Food Safety at the Food Marketing Institute explained to Food Safety News in an email.