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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Lessons Learnt from a Recall

Last week, one of our prized products, Asafoetida - gluten and grain free was recalled due to presence of gluten in the product (if you bought this product, please contact us). This is the first time we have ever encountered such an incident (or any negative comments) on any of our products and needless to say it has been tough to deal with emotionally and practically.

I have spent years building up my company's reputation and innovating products for the Canadian market never before done so the revelation that the award winning Asafoetida was compromised was very disappointing to me on many levels. For those that know me know I am a perfectionist and so to share this so openly is also quite hard for me to do but it is important that we give as much transparency as we can especially when we are supported by customers who have praised us for the speed at which we are working on the recall and those who continue to state their loyalty to our brand.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and if nothing else, this unfortunate incident has served as a reminder that the smaller the business the more you have to protect so one has to manage all risks. 

In working through the requirements to deal with this recall, I have been asked some questions which I want to take a moment to answer here as to how we are moving forward.

Why is this product being labelled as gluten free if it is not?

Asafoetida is inherently NOT gluten free which is why we worked with our farmer direct suppliers to formulate one that is gluten free. Our labels were CFIA approved and we had documentation at the time of purchase that showed the product was gluten free. However, what has transpired is something we are taking very seriously as we need to know where and how this contamination has occurred and as such we are carrying out further independent testing and investigating further with all concerned parties whose integrity we rely upon in turn. 

We employ many measures to manage this operational risk but will be looking to implement new measures too.

How are you ensuring you reach as many customers as possible who bought the asafoetida?

Our small batch production promise means that we minimize the number of units we offer for sale of any one batch of product. This enables us to trace back to every online customer that bought this product and the retail stores we wholesaled it to. The benefits of this also mean:

  • In the event of a recall, it is slightly easier for us to deal with all the requirements and implications
  • As a small business the economic impact of a recall would be mitigated to some extent; and
  • We are controlling the reach of affected consumers with each batch.

Will you be bringing another batch of this gluten free asafoetida?

Right now our main focus is dealing with this recall as expeditiously as we can. That said, we remain committed to delivering the freshest and highest quality products to our discerning customers and so we will be bringing a new batch of asafoetida (either in the same formulation or a revised one if necessary) to the market but only once we are fully satisfied that it is indeed free from gluten and meets all of our other requirements.

On behalf of Spice Sanctuary, please accept our sincerest apologies if you were affected by this recall. Your custom is important to us and we certainly hope to serve you again.