Silver Spring, MD: Consumers can now 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.
The table also provides 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.
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," says Mike Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods. "We encourage people to check out our new recalls search page for themselves, and use it whenever they have a question about a recall."
Per the requirements of the FSMA, for certain recalls the search results will also provide status information on whether the recall is completed or ongoing. The status information will be provided for those recalls for which FDA either ordered a mandatory recall or provided the opportunity for a voluntary recall under FDA's FSMA authority.
"The new search page not only provides consumers with an easy-to-read table of information on products they are searching for, it also represents the delivery of one of the first major actions called for under the Food Safety Modernization Act," says Taylor. "That delivery is on time and right on target, and we appreciate the involvement of our stakeholders."
Prior to launching the new Web search, the FDA consulted with stakeholder groups, including the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumers Union, Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Pew Health Group, and Safe Tables Our Priority to gain their insights on how to most effectively and easily communicate recall information to consumers.
"We welcome the suggestions of those with first-hand experience in communicating information to consumers about food recalls," says Taylor. "We intend to continue to reach out to stakeholders as we make additional improvements in sharing recall information."