Many times we hear of breaking news informing us that there are certain lots of foods that have been recalled or contaminated, but it’s never really been that easy to identify if you have an affected product or not. But this is not the case anymore.
As of April 4, 2011 consumers can search for food and other product recalls easier and quicker on FDA’s website than previously. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed into law in January by President Obama called for a more consumer-friendly recall search engine.
To provide greater ease of use for consumers, the search results provide data from news releases and other recall announcements in the form of a table. That table organizes information from news releases on recalls since 2009 by date, product brand name, product description, reason for the recall and the recalling firm.
FDA Consumer Safety Officer Armando Zamora explains in an article found on the FDA website what to do if you think you may have a recalled product. He says there are many numbers and dates on the foods, drugs, cosmetics, and other products we use every day. Some help manufacturers track inventory, while others help retailers ensure quality. But when unsafe products must be removed from the market, these numbers and dates can also help identify them quickly.
Mr. Zamora says to look for product and brand name, lot codes or plant numbers, expiration or other dates, product photos, the company’s web address and contact information.
If you have reason to believe that your product my be part of a recall go to www.fda.gov/safety/recalls and look for your product by name.
The table will provide a link to the news release on each recall for more detailed information. The news releases were chosen as the source of information for the table because they provide the most up-to-date and user friendly information about any recall.
The new display of the search results is markedly different from the previous display, which provided links in a scroll-down format.
You should find out the information that you need at this site. If after checking you are unsure and still have doubts about the safety of your product, Mr. Zamora says, Don’t use it. He says that you should then contact the manufacturer or the place where you purchased the item.
Under FSMA, FDA was required to provide a consumer-friendly recall search engine within 90 days after the law went into effect. Further, for recalls conducted under FSMA, it requires FDA to indicate whether the recall is ongoing or completed. Prior to passage of FSMA, FDA did not have mandatory recall authority for food and feed products other than infant formula.
Recalls, mandatory or otherwise, are serious and we must do everything possible to make it easier for people to know about these recalls so they can take all appropriate steps to protect themselves and their families, said Mike Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods. â€œWe encourage people to check out our new recalls search page for themselves, and use it whenever they have a question about a recall.