When to recall a product

A product recall may be required if a product might cause injury to any person, or contravene an unsafe goods notice or prescribed product safety standard.

When to consider a recall

You may need to launch a product recall if:

  • there are reported injuries or safety concerns related to a product
  • a product falls short of a safety or quality standard, or
  • a product poses an unacceptable level of risk to users or the public.

Examples of problems that could require a recall

A fault in the product itself

For example, a manufacturing fault that causes a weld on a bicycle to fail and the bicycle collapses while it is being ridden.

Failure to meet a mandatory standard


  • a prescribed product safety standard
  • an unsafe goods notice made under the Fair Trading Act
  • an electrical safety standard cited under electrical safety legislation.

A problem or fault with the packaging

For example, a cap on a bottle of household cleaner that doesn't fit properly and can be easily opened by children, or labelling that omits vital safety information.

An injury caused by the use of a product

For example a mug that shatters when filled with hot liquid.

Inadequate instructions

For example, instructions that don't include safety processes or are difficult to follow.

For example:

  • poor instructions on how to safely assemble a product sold in kitset form, especially if the instructions have been poorly translated for an imported product
  • poor advice on how the product should safely be used.

Assessing the problem

Steps to take once you become aware of a potential defect with a product that may make it unsafe, or if you have been advised of an injury involving a product.

Gather and assess all the available information

This may require talking to:

  • customers who have complained or raised concerns
  • other businesses involved with the product who may have received complaints
  • regulators.

Assess the hazard

  • Investigate reported injuries to see how and why they happened, and what steps could be taken to prevent them happening again.
  • Assess the defect and likelihood of injury.
  • Arrange for independent testing of the product.

Quarantine the products involved

The affected product may need to be quarantined in the supply chain to contain the issue and stop it spreading further. The more serious the hazard and likelihood of injury, the sooner this should be done.

To quarantine the product, you will need to:

  • identify the products involved – batch numbers, production dates, quantities etc
  • locate the goods – warehouses, retailers, customers.

You can start quarantining a product while you're still investigating an issue.

Contact us if you plan to recall a product

You must inform us about a product recall within 2 days of the recall being made public

Contact us