Food safety reminds. The US system makes consumers vulnerable

May 26, 2022 – When it comes to learning about food recall from a local grocery store, it might be worthwhile to go around.

Some stores, such as Eagle Foods և Costco, take decisive action when a food manufacturer or FDA issues a safety warning. They send text messages or call their loyalty card customers to let them know they have recently bought a potentially dangerous product.

with: JIF Peanut Butter Reminder as much as possible salmonella On May 20, for example, the two stores sent out notices to customers within hours.

In contrast, other grocery stores, such as Publix և Aldi, require customers to check the company’s website for recalls. This approach places a responsibility on each buyer to protect themselves and their loved ones To think about food. a report: published today by the Public Interest Research Group.

It: CDC Ratings 28,000 Americans are hospitalized each year, and about 3,000 die each year from foodborne illness.

The report cites names from Acme / Albertson’s to Winn Dixie as referring to the 50 largest grocery stores in the United States, their strategy or lack of strategy for food recall.

Asked if he was surprised by the study, the author of the study, Theresa Murray, said: “Yes, no.” He divides food retailers into two groups: larger grocery companies focusing on food, as opposed to convenience stores or pharmacies that have certain foods but that is not their core business.

Murray is surprised that not all major grocery stores that can notify customers of a special recall, such as special purchases matching the loyalty card contact information, actually do so.

Small retailers և those that do not offer loyalty cards are limited in targeting specific buyers. But they can use other techniques, such as posting recall leaflets in their stores. The problem with physical notifications is that if a thousand recalls are posted in the product aisle, but someone who bought it does not return to the store for a few days or more, or miss the product section on the next visit, they can not. : see in time

Remembering the day keeps the consumer away.

The sheer volume of food recalls poses another challenge. In the last 5 years, on average, 325 such recalls per year will be overloaded by people receiving the alarm about once a day. This can lead to what the report calls “recurring fatigue,” which means that people are less likely to pay attention after a while.

That’s why targeting messages only to people who have purchased specific foods involved in the recall would be ideal, Murray said.

Another potential solution would be for retailers to offer customers limited access to special recall notices. Notifications can be customized food allergy or only class I memories that pose a more serious health risk, for example. Stores that offer such services should promote this option to customers, says Murray.

The idea would be to offer customers an option to provide their phone number at the time of payment, assuring them that they will only be notified if their receipt item is later withdrawn.

In general, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, says Murray, who offers a multi-layered approach to reaching as many customers as possible. Eventually, he says, people die from food-related illnesses, including some preventable deaths from eating food, even after being called off.

“Food” is the name of the FDA

Where is the FDA in all this? There are only two federal requirements for food recall. The manufacturer must create a news release, and the FDA must publish the recall on its page. Recalls, withdrawals և Security notifications website. The Food Safety Monitoring Act, signed in 2011, will give the agency more authority to recall food, but its provisions have yet to enter into force.

There may be a considerable delay until official food recall notices are posted on the FDA website. A “particularly outrageous example” in the report is the recall of the Dolly Carrot, which was announced by the FDA և CDC on December 22, 2021 as a potential number. Listeria pollution. Murray notes that the CDC’s investigation followed the related illnesses until 2014.

Most recently, that lack of baby formula The closure of the Abbott plant in Sturgis (MI) may be partly due to security concerns. FDA Commissioner Robert Calif, MD, testified in Congress this week that the agency was too slow to respond to a report of unsafe conditions at the plant.

The Commissioner blamed the challenges related to COVID-19 pandemic but he said the FDA’s mailbox error had caused a missing portion of the mail to disappear.

Steps that consumers can take

Murray, which was posted on the same day as the PIRG report, also published it nine tips for consumers who do not want to wait for retailers or the federal government to take further action on recalls.

Tips include:

  • Ask the customer service desk how they notify customers of their recall.
  • Choose any notification service they offer, especially if you or a family member has a severe food allergy or high-risk medical condition.
  • Take photos of food packaging, such as onions, potatoes, or apples, which you usually carry in a bowl or other container at home if there is an appropriate recall.

“Over the past decade, companies have improved their response time to recalls,” said Jim Dudliczek, a spokesman for the National Grocery Association, a trade association with more than 1,500 independent retailers and wholesalers.

Communication between players in the food supply chain has also improved, Dudlicek says, “meaning that goods are removed from the shelves faster or never appear on the shelves when recalled.”

FMI, the Food Industry Association, which represents major grocery stores, commented on the PIRG report but did not respond to a request for comment.

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