FDA Moves to Identify Locations Selling Recalled Products
Defective Product Lawyer
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing some new food recall guidelines that will outline when it will identify places where consumers could have purchased affected items.
In recent draft guidance that was released by the agency, the FDA stated that it will disclose retail locations that could have distributed or sold recalled animal or human food to the public where there is a “reasonable probability” the recalled items could cause serious health consequences or death.
Under this new policy, the FDA will publicize lists for food recalls involving still-available products that are not easily identified from their store packaging or lack thereof, such as food that is sold directly to consumers with no bar or UPC codes. They may also release a list when a recalled food product is related to a foodborne illness outbreak and the information could help protect the public.
These lists will include retail outlets that sell to customers in their store or via the Internet, catalog, phone, mail or other means, and places that deliver food items directly to consumers using a third-party service.
Previously, the agency did not always release lists of where recalled items could have been bought because some of the supply chain information was held as confidential, meant to stay between the supplier and the retailer. However, in some situations, the FDA decided that additional information needs to be released to safeguard consumers, especially when the recalled product is related to an illness outbreak.
This year saw a spike in public health warnings and food recalls over the summer. Fresh-cut melons, wraps, and other meat products distributed by Caito Foods were found to be contaminated by cyclospora, which was also the illness agent behind the McDonald’s salad recall, and there were several recalls of products possibly contaminated with salmonella across various food categories.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently expanded a ground beef recall over E. coli contamination. This affected several retailers, but the USDA’s policy has always been to release the locations and names of places where recalled poultry or meat was sold when there is the threat of serious health consequences or death.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is reportedly welcoming the policy change by the FDA. According to the association’s spokesman, Roger Lowe, food safety is the top priority for beverage and food manufacturers. Even with top-tier food safety systems in place, Lowe noted, product recalls can still happen. The association’s official position is that any time there is a recall, the primary objectives of the retailers and manufacturers involved should always be to get the relevant information out to the public and all the products off of the shelves as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, recalled products do sometimes end up on shelves weeks or even months after a recall, so having a list of the places these products were sold may prove very helpful to consumers. If you have been harmed by a recalled product, speak to a defective product injury lawyer about your case.
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