Did You Know? The FDA Hasn’t Got the Right to Recall Poison Food!

That’s right! The FDA doesn’t have the legal power to require companies to recall their tainted products. How’s that for a food safety loophole?

Companies that discover a food safety issue in their products may voluntarily recall them and issue a notification to the FDA, but they don’t have to. While in practice most companies do recall bad food, they sometimes delay the decision (a costly one) to do so much more than, say, a regulatory body would.

In a report about food safety handed to the government by the Institute of Medicine earlier this week, one of the recommendations was to close this silly gap and give the FDA the power to mandate recalls.

Additional the IOM suggested that the FDA, severely underfunded and understaffed, build a food safety strategy, put in place a risk management plan, and delegate some of the food inspection powers to state and local authorities.

The FDA is responsible for more than 150,000 food facilities, more than 1 million restaurants and other retail food establishments, and more than 2 million farms, as well as millions of tons of imports. Every year there are several thousands of deaths in the US due to food-borne illnesses. This is a serious problem.

What to do at the supermarket:

Unfortunately for consumers there is not much we can do before the fact. Only when a recall has begun do supermarkets take products of the shelves. Both processed foods and unprocessed items like produce and meats are potentially harmful if infected with salmonella, listeria, or other bacteria.

Some of the more advanced chains notify consumers if products they have bought are recalled. This is based on the fact that they know all the items bought through the customer’s loyalty card.

  • http://www.whosmydaddy.wordpress.com Cassie

    That’s so WRONG!

  • http://the50besthealthblogs.blogspot.com/ The 50 Best Health Blogs

    There are serious problems with unregulated capitalism.

    Maybe the FDA could set high food safety standards for the general public, with exemptions for libertarians and tea party folks.

    Then everybody could get the food quality they deserve.

    Jim Purdy

  • Gail

    It is time that the non-naive recognize what is going on in the world. Do you really expect someone else to protect us from those who have all the power and make all the rules? It is obvious who the FDA works for and it sure isn’t the public.

  • http://www.oregonrural.org Shaun

    The supermarket is not an eater’s only choice. Though not available everywhere, farmers markets, farm stands and CSA programs increasingly offer an important option for consumers wanting to choose the healthiest and safest produce possible. Knowing your farmer is the clearest path to food safety because you know how your food was grown and handled. Not so for the industrial food supply chain.

    That’s why we need to pass an amended food safety bill that recognizes that small farmers selling directly to customers don’t need an extra layer of federal regulation on top of the state and local regulations that are already successfully handling the food safety issues for this type of agriculture and food distribution. It’s the industrial ag companies, like Del Monte and ConAgra, that need the oversight of the FDA.

    We need to urge our Senators to support the Tester amendments to S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, to hold industrial ag companies accountable for making people sick and to ensure that small, local farmers aren’t driven out of business. You can sign an online petition here: http://www.change.org/oregonrural/petitions/view/keep_small_farms_safe_in_the_food_safety_bill