Nutrition ,

Tracking Food Recalls

By: Courtney Luecking, MPH, MS, RD Doctoral Candidate: Nutrition

Back around Labor Day, I blogged about ways to prevent foodborne illness. Another way to keep your loved ones safe is to pay attention to food recalls. According to Foodsafety.gov, food recalls and alerts are made when “there is reason to believe that a food may cause consumers to become ill”. This could be the result of a bacteria or virus being present in a food, a potential allergen, or the mislabeling or misbranding of food.

In preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday, two headlines jumped out to me – “Heinz Recalls Hundreds of Cases of Gravy Just Ahead of Thanksgiving” and “Sabra recalls hummus amid listeria contamination fears”. These were particularly concerning because I knew foods like this were on the menu. What if I had missed those news stories?

Here are some tips to proactively get information about potentially contaminated food products and what to do if you have one of these products in your home.

Checking for Product Recalls

  • Visit the Foodsafety.gov website to see information about recent recalls
  • For packaged products, compare your labels to the recalled product for: brand name, sell by date, and the package code
  • For fresh produce concerns, call your grocery store and ask to speak with a manager

Staying Aware of Food Recalls

What to Do When You Have a Recalled Product

  • Do not eat the food product
  • Check the FDA or USDA website for instructions on what to do
  • Check with your grocery store to see if they are issuing refunds or replacement products
  • Clean your kitchen to ensure the contaminated food hasn’t affected other parts of your kitchen

Resources:

Foodsafety.gov – Recalls & Alerts. https://www.foodsafety.gov/recalls/

How to Check Food Recalls. http://www.wikihow.com/Check-Food-Recalls

  • Aria

    Courtney- This is a great reminder, especially around the holidays. I always find it especially difficult to communicate with family members about food safety and recalls. I feel like this is the time of the year when you are most likely to be cooking in someone else’s kitchen, with potentially different rules and different ways of handling and storing foods. Another headline that came out right before Thanksgiving was about the potential salmonella risk of bagged salads and greens, which is huge considering that consumption of greens has increased with the rise of the availability of bagged salads. Thanks for the tips for how to stay on top of food safety over the holidays.