There has been an increasing amount of food recalls this last year, ranging from leafy greens all the way to goldfish crackers. As food safety is becoming an increasingly important issue among the industry, the FDA is making an effort to make more robust use of mandatory recall authority to quickly remove unsafe foods from the market.
The FDA has implemented several policy changes this last year to improve the food recall process so that the product can be removed as quickly as possible. On average, a recall occurs within four calendar days of the problem being discovered, and most recalls are conducted in close coordination with the FDA's food program staff.
In order to be as transparent as possible, the FDA is releasing a final guidance information about the implementation of FDA's mandatory recall authority. The agency aims to expand the appropriate use of its mandatory recall authority in cases where it has to intervene quickly in order to protect consumers from unsafe products.
The guidance will further outline how the FDA will give the responsible party an opportunity to conduct a voluntary recall before ordering a mandatory recall. It will also offer more detail about the evidence or circumstance the FDA may consider when deciding to move forward with a mandatory food recall and will provide clarity around situations when the FDA would deem a food product a serious health risk. By adding clarity, the FDA can make more robust use of this recall authority.
Since gaining this authority under FSMA in 2011, the FDA has only had to issue on mandatory recall order of a food product. In April 2018, the agency issued a mandatory recall order for all food products containing powdered kratom manufactured, processed, packed or held by Triangle Phamanturals after several products contained salmonella.
the agency remains committed to working with companies to facilitate the orderly and prompt voluntary removal of potentially dangerous products from the food supply, having FDA Recall Coordinators available to assist firms during the recall process and provide guidance on when and how recalls should occur.
The agency has also issued a new draft guidance that describes situations when disclosing retail information for recalled products. Back in January, the FDA released a draft guidance on public warnings for consumers that outlined situations where the FDA and companies would publicize public warnings to help carry out a recall.
The FDA says that more actions to improve the recall policies will be coming soon as it is committed to ensuring that recalls by companies, whether it be voluntarily or involuntarily, are initiated, overseen and completed promptly and effectively.